VAN GISBERGEN STEADY IN OPENING RACE AT ALBERT PARK SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen has kept his nose clean to finish 15th in the first race of the V8 Supercars Manufacturers' Challenge at the ING Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix meeting...
VAN GISBERGEN STEADY IN OPENING RACE AT ALBERT PARK
SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen has kept his nose clean to finish 15th in the first race of the V8 Supercars Manufacturers' Challenge at the ING Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix meeting at Melbourne's Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on Friday afternoon.
Van Gisbergen, who drives the #9 SP Tools Racing Ford Falcon for the Stone Brothers Racing team, qualified 14th in yesterday's 30 minute session but moved back to 16th on the grid as the Ford versus Holden grid took shape.
The 18-year-old Kiwi rookie was hit by Todd Kelly late in the race as he passed the Jack Daniels driver on the inside, causing damage to the front of the SP Tools Racing Falcon, but he was able to continue to the chequered flag for a 15th place finish.
Commenting on the race Van Gisbergen said;
"We got a little bit tangled in the mess at the start line but didn't suffer any damage and I was able to settle into a rhythm and race with Craig Lowndes for a few laps until he got past. I followed him for a while and picked up a few things about the circuit.
"Later in the race I passed Todd Kelly after he made a mistake. He tried to cover it too late and came across the front of the SP Tools Racing Falcon and bent something in the front end.
"We struggled with the rear tyres going off towards the end but managed to finish where we started and it keeps us in the same spot for tomorrow."
Teammate James Courtney started from 14th on the grid, but suffered bent steering to the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon off the line as cars dived around a slow-moving Jamie Whincup.
Courtney battled with the damaged JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon early in the race, dropping to 18th position before an incident with Jason Bright on lap nine saw the Gold Coast driver served with a drive through penalty.
The penalty dropped Courtney to 26th place though he was able to make up two positions on the closing laps to cross the line in 24th position.
The Stone Brothers Racing pair will be back on the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit today for race two of the V8 Supercars Manufacturers Challenge at 3:30pm.
Shane Van Gisbergen competes with the personal support and assistance of the Team 97 Racing group comprising New Zealand companies Baron Leathergoods NZ Ltd, Pro Floors Ltd, TParts Ltd and the Sierra Motor Company.