SBR SET FOR 'SOFT' SUNDAY Stone Brothers Racing will be looking to make the most out of the 'soft' tyres they have in reserve for tomorrow's 84 lap feature at the Bigpond 300 in Perth. In today's half length race both van Gisbergen and Davison...
SBR SET FOR 'SOFT' SUNDAY
Stone Brothers Racing will be looking to make the most out of the 'soft' tyres they have in reserve for tomorrow's 84 lap feature at the Bigpond 300 in Perth. In today's half length race both van Gisbergen and Davison made the best out of a bad situation after an average qualifying result in this morning's elimination sessions. Opting to run on hard tyres for the entire race meant that van Gisbergen and Davison's finishing efforts of 15th and 17th did not reflect their competitive speed and performance.
In Leg 1 of qualifying Davison made it as high as 7th but quickly dropped down the order in the session's final minutes. With no time left on the clock van Gisbergen and Davison were 19th and 20th and looking safe to make it into the second qualifying leg before Craig Lowndes posted the 6th fastest time pushing Davison into 21st. Van Gisbergen only just hanging on to be 20th with one hundredth of a second separating him from his teammate.
In Leg 2 van Gisbergen was only able to improve by one position moving up to 19th on his final flying lap attempt.
After almost a three month break from the soft tyre option the yellow striped Dunlop's made a return in today's race providing those that opted to use them full benefit of their one and a half second per lap advantage.
At the race start only six cars lined up on the grid with soft tyres fitted, the rest of the field opting to keep them for use in the second half of the race or untouched until tomorrow.
On the first lap, van Gisbergen and Davison were side by side going into turn two before settling into 19th and 20th position, immediately the cars on soft tyres streaked away leaving those on hard tyres to battle amongst themselves.
By Lap 6 van Gisbergen remained in his starting position of 19th, Davison dropping back to 25th.
Three laps later van Gisbergen entered pit lane to take on two new rear tyres and fuel. Car #4 ran a different strategy pitting on Lap 22, the races halfway point, for two left hand side tyres and a top up of fuel.
On Lap 38 the only incident of the race occurred when Reynolds, sitting in second place went off into the sand trap at the top end of the circuit after his soft tyres suffered a puncture. On that same lap a very speedy Whincup passed Davison putting the #4 Falcon a lap down.
On the final lap van Gisbergen also fell victim to the leading group going down a lap before crossing the line in 15th, Davison finishing two places behind his teammate in 17th.
Shane van Gisbergen - Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
"It was always going to be tough out there today, obviously we didn't start the race from the best position and we didn't use our soft tyres.
"We stopped early and got a fresh set of rear tyres on and ran to the end, we were running at the same pace as Caruso but I just wasn't close enough to make a pass. We gained a lot of track position after our pit stop but lost out a bit when the guys that pitted later in the race re-entered on fresher tyres.
"We really did the best we could today, we made a small improvement to the car with the shock setting but we are still a little way away yet.
"After qualifying we made the car more pacey for the race and we have our soft tyres for tomorrow's race so hopefully we can put them to good use."
Alex Davison -Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
"The team have been working really hard the last two days to find that bit extra but it's such a slippery circuit so it's not an easy task. When you are just a little outside the window with the car here you pay a heavy price.
"Today was never going to be our best result because we knew we were going to save the soft tyres for Sunday so we can look forward to using them to make gains in tomorrow's race.
"We have had some good performances in the past with the soft tyres so I'm confident we will finish the day strong."
Ross Stone - SBR Team Principal
"I think both Alex and Shane did a god job today, we just didn't get the cars setup as well as we could have. It's a hard race when a whole lot of guys are on the soft tyre in front of you.
"Hopefully when we use the soft tyres tomorrow we make them work for us."
The V8 Supercars will be back on track tomorrow for a 20 minute Qualifying session at 10:00am.