Outstanding racing by Novocastrian Drew Russell saw him storm through the field after qualifying in 15th position. to lead his first ever laps in a V8 Supercar in the second round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Winton Raceway this ...
Outstanding racing by Novocastrian Drew Russell saw him storm through the field after qualifying in 15th position. to lead his first ever laps in a V8 Supercar in the second round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Winton Raceway this weekend.
The twenty year old also equalled his best result in the series by finishing 5th in race two.
Drew and Newcastle based Race Image Motorsport had a difficult start to the weekend with Drew's gearbox jumping out of third gear forcing him to hold it in place throughout much of the first practice session.
The team fitted a new gearbox between the first and second practice sessions, but the team had lost valuable time that could have been spent tweaking the car set up.
Drew and his team struggled during the qualifying session, setting a time that saw Drew qualify in 15th position. Between the qualifying session held on Saturday morning and race one later that afternoon the team worked hard on a number of changes to the car and it paid off.
Drew started the first race of the weekend in 14th place after pole sitter Shane Price was sent to the rear of the field due to a technical infringement. Making a clean start off the line Drew jumped up one place to be in 13th going into the first corner. Drew fought hard throughout the race, working his way through the field by passing drivers and due to of number of driver errors ahead of him, making it comfortably into the top ten in the closing laps of the race.
Forcing his way past Bryce Washington, Drew took 9th place and an incident between Price and McNally ahead of him allowed Drew to take 7th place with just two laps remaining. Drew held on to bring the car home safety an impressive seven places ahead of where he started race.
Race two of the weekend's round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series saw the top ten placed drivers of the first race reversed for the start of the race, meaning Drew lined up on the second row of the grid in 4th place.
Drew made a perfect start, storming past Washington, championship leader David Russell and Shane Price to come through the first corner leading his first ever lap in a V8 Supercar.
Drew held the position for the first two laps before being caught and passed by David Russell and Price. Drew held Washington behind him until the half way point of the race before dropping behind him where he ran solidly for the remainder of the race.
Drew brought the car home in an impressive 5th place, matching his best effort in the series at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide earlier this year.
Race 3 was a difficult race for Drew. Starting from 6th place on the grid, Drew got a good start, but was forced wide and off the track after turn one to avoid a spinning car, dropping Drew back to 9th place behind Emery.
Drew fought hard to get passed Emery, but could not find a way through until lap 8. Drew then made an uncharacteristic error, dropping a wheel off the track in turn three resulting in him hitting the marbles and running off the track dropping back to 13th place.
Drew was able to gain make up one place by the end of the race to bring the car home in 12th place.
Even with all the problems of the third race Drew still finished the weekend in 8th place overall, picking up 184 points for the weekend.
Drew was pleased to have been fighting with the front pack this weekend.
"Finishing 7th in the first race after we struggled so much in the early part of the weekend was good," said Drew at the end of the weekend.
"The car improved over the weekend, but I know there is so much more that we can get out of the car. We finished the weekend with a fastest lap on par with the lead pack, which is a great sign for the rest of the season.
"Leading the race in the second race was an awesome feeling. I knew I had made an excellent start, but I never expected to pass the three of them by the time we got through the first corner.
"When I came through in the lead after the first corner of race two I was so excited, it was hard to keep my legs from shaking. It is a great feeling, I cannot wait to get back up there very soon, and hopefully next time I will be able to match the lead bunch for pace.
"Everyone at Race Image Motorsport has done a great deal to get us this far and I am excited about the rest of the season."
Race Image Motorsport team owner, David McMahon was just as pleased with the progress the team has made since the start of the season.
"It is great to see Drew fighting for positions up the front of the field," said David after the race.
"I am confident that with the pace Drew has shown this weekend we can build on our performance and continue to run at the front of this highly competitive field."
Drew and the team are hoping to schedule another test day prior to making the big trip to Townsville in July for the next round of the 2009 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.
Before then you can catch all of this weekend's action on 7 at 1:30pm Saturday 9 May.