David Besnard gets plenty of miles under his belt for Darwin. David Besnard all "Warmed-Up" for Darwin race. Caltex Havoline Racing's David Besnard had an unusual warm-up to this weekend's fourth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, by...
David Besnard gets plenty of miles under his belt for Darwin.
David Besnard all "Warmed-Up" for Darwin race.
Caltex Havoline Racing's David Besnard had an unusual warm-up to this weekend's fourth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, by driving from the Gold Coast to Darwin.
Besnard and Stone Brothers Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose started out on their journey on Sunday morning and arrived in Darwin yesterday afternoon.
The pair shared a Ford Explorer and F250 truck for the journey, which was about the same distance as driving four V8 Bathurst 1000s.
Caltex Havoline Racing's second driver, Wayne Gardner, took the "easy" way out and arrived in Darwin by plane.
During the four-day trip, Besnard traveled around 4000km and visited such landmarks as the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, the Waltzing Matilda monument in Winton and the Walkabout Creek Pub, which was make famous in the movie Crocodile Dundee.
There were also visits to the natural springs at Mataranka, old World War II airstrips, the war cemetery at Adelaide River and the odd country pub.
Besnard finished with one of his strongest results of the year in Darwin last season with three top seven results and believes he is even better prepared this time around after a very successful test at Queensland Raceway last week.
"This trip has been a whole new experience of everyone on it and it would be great if we could top-off off the journey with some major points on Sunday," said Besnard.
"This trip will certainly do a bit for our endurance race preparations, but probably won't give us any great advantage at the weekend.
"I think this trip is something everyone needs to do. The other thing I want to do is win a V8 Supercar race and hopefully we can fulfill that goal at the weekend.
"You really get an idea of how big this country really is when you get out here.
"I guess the great thing about running at Hidden Valley at the weekend is that we won't have any kangaroos to dodge."
Gardner is set for a big weekend after he failed to qualify for round three at Eastern Creek Raceway a couple of weeks ago.
Pre-qualifying has been eliminated for the remainder of the season and the grid has been increased from 32 to 36 cars for this weekend's race.
This will be Gardner's last race for the team before he partners Besnard in the Queensland 500 and at Bathurst later in the year because of his commitments racing in the Japanese GT 500 Championship.
The 1987 world 500cc champion was also involved in last Thursday's test and was happy with the outcome.
"I just want to get back out there and race," said Gardner.
"It was frustrating not to qualify for Eastern Creek and I have been itching ever since.
"This will be the first time I have raced in Darwin and everyone tells me what at great atmosphere the event has and how enthusiastic the fans are.
"I think we made some strong progress during last week's test and hopefully we can convert that on the track this weekend."
The abolishment of pre-qualifying has meant a total restructure of this weekend's timetable.
There will now be two 30-minute practice sessions Friday afternoon and cars will be allotted to them on an odds and evens basis. Cars will only allowed to do a maximum of 10 laps each.
There will be 20-lap race Saturday afternoon and two 35-lap races on Sunday.