D'ALBERTO ON TARGET IN DARWIN Tony D'Alberto made further inroads into the V8 Supercar field last weekend when he pushed his way up the running order at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway before a Race 3 incident put an end to his top 15 hopes for...
D'ALBERTO ON TARGET IN DARWIN
Tony D'Alberto made further inroads into the V8 Supercar field last weekend when he pushed his way up the running order at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway before a Race 3 incident put an end to his top 15 hopes for the meeting.
In qualifying the margins were closer than ever with less than 1 second covering the bulk of the field. The first leg of qualifying saw Tony just 6 tenth of a second slower than pole position but 26th on the grid.
"I was pretty happy with the speed we had in qualifying and I was a bit surprised that we could be in 26th place just six tenth slower than the fastest in the leg," Tony said.
"It shows how competitive this category is and that we need to have every aspect of the set-up and driving perfect to move up the grid."
Saturday's Race 1 gave Tony the opportunity to push forward in the field, after starting from 26th on the grid a solid run and a fast pit stop helped to secure 19th at the end of the race.
"It was just a matter of getting a good start and pushing from there.
"This track has really limited passing opportunities so it was important to make the most of the opportunities I had and also get a full race under my belt."
Some great driving in the first few laps put Tony up to position 12 in Race 2 competing ahead of the two HSV Dealer Team cars and Jamie Wincup before the pit stop and then eventually finishing a strong 15th position at the end of the race after losing a couple of places on a late-race restart.
"That was a really good race," Tony said.
"I got a great start and had a competitive race with a lot of the more experienced guys which was great.
"It would have been nice not to have lost the positions at the end but the stakes are high for all of us out there and finishing the races is extremely important."
With hopes of a strong finish in the final race Tony went out with confidence starting from grid 15.
Another brilliant start and Tony put himself in a position to make a fantastic outside move had him as high as 12th before the pit window opened.
An early stop was planned to make the most of better tyres for the bulk of the race. As it turned out the tyres that were fitted upset the balance of the car and made Tony's race a struggle for balance.
Even so, he was travelling in 15th place until lap 24 when he was turned around by Andrew Jones and then hit by Andrew Thomson breaking Tony's front spoiler.
After the spoiler broke free on the front straight Tony was forced off the track without any downforce for braking. He pitted for more tyres but continued on the last few laps without the front spoiler for the last few laps to finish 23rd.
"That was a hard race," Tony said.
"We came across some unexpected problems when we put new tyres on which made it a tough race.
"Even so we could have had a strong result if I hadn't been turned around."
The meeting was a positive step forward for the team with one of the closest qualifying times to date and a good solid set-up for the bulk of the meeting.
Tony will be glad to return to familiar territory when he races at Queensland Raceway for Round 7 of the Championship.