Canto and Holdsworth fight hard in Clipsal 500 Garry Rogers Motorsport drivers Dean Canto and Lee Holdsworth have taken away positive signs from the opening V8 Supercar round of the season - the punishing Clipsal 500 on the...
Canto and Holdsworth fight hard in Clipsal 500
Garry Rogers Motorsport drivers Dean Canto and Lee Holdsworth have taken away positive signs from the opening V8 Supercar round of the season - the punishing Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide.
While it may not have shown on the results sheet, Canto's speed and Holdsworth's level-headed driving had both GRM Commodores running well above the mid-pack chaos that normally occurs on the tough street track.
Canto qualified his #34 Repco Valvoline Cummins Holden in 19th spot and had pushed his way well into the top 10 in Race 1 on Saturday thanks to a smart strategy and making his tyre stop early.
He was shuffled back in the pack by drivers with fresher tyres, only to suffer a puncture caused by a wheel rim broken by debris on the circuit. He eventually crossed the line in a delayed 20th spot.
In Sunday's 78-lap race the reigning V8 Development Series Champion pitted for his tyre stop on lap 16 and ran in second place as other drivers had elected to make their second stop for fuel earlier.
On lap 46 Canto was going to head into the pits to refuel, but didn't make it after contact from eventual winner Jamie Whincup pushed the #34 car into the tyre wall. Buried and unable to move, the Safety Car was deployed, Canto's car removed and he continued to finish 18th.
"We really had some good car speed for the weekend," said Canto.
"In the second race I passed six cars by the first corner and eight for the first lap, so we were fighting through well.
"I ran as wide as I could when Jamie came up the inside into turn four but we clashed and it ripped the steering wheel out of my hands. That damaged the steering a bit, but at least we got going and finished.
"We had the pace to run in the top 10 but there are no results to show that.
"In Saturday's race the car wasn't as strong and not as nice on its tyres. Somehow we picked up some debris and that cut into the rim and punctured the tyre."
Holdsworth had a consistent weekend in his first full-time drive for the GRM squad. Having qualified 28th and worked hard on learning the 3.2- kilometre circuit, Holdsworth finished 18th in the first race.
It could have been a 12th or 13th, though Holdsworth was stopped behind the Safety Car in front of leader Craig Lowndes, who had pitted, and Lee was not waved through to tag into the back of the queue of cars.
Thus, he lost an effective whole lap and wasn't really able to make any much more ground.
Come Sunday and the Development Series graduate had risen as high was 14th on lap 45 when he pitted for fuel.
However the #33 car wouldn't restart and it was pushed into the garage to have a new battery fitted. Holdsworth re-joined and finished 24th.
"The car just wouldn't restart and lost all ignition," said Holdsworth of the drama.
"We had better pace in the second race and I was actually driving the car a lot better. I'm still getting used to just how aggressive things are in the main series. I handled it a lot better on Sunday in the second race.
Unlike many other teams, GRM have two straight Commodores and will now head home to Melbourne for the non-championship races at the Australian Grand Prix meeting at Albert Park next weekend.