POSITIVE END TO SEASON FOR D'ALBERTO AT ORAN PARK
Tony D'Alberto ended his rookie season of the V8 Supercars Championship today at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway with 19th place in the final after a season-best qualifying and two frustrating mechanical failures in race 1 and 2.
The meeting started well for D'Alberto when he was fourth fastest in the first leg of qualifying on Saturday morning. He eventually finished the second leg in 20th after he struggled without fresh rubber.
"We put together a few really good laps in the first session and the car felt great," Tony said.
"In the second session we just didn't have enough new tyres left to have a real shot and I just didn't get the most from the car."
20th place is his equal best qualifying, the same as where he was at Sandown earlier in the year.
Race 1 was going well with Tony up to 15th place after the pit stop and pushing forward when the right rear shock absorber snapped the shaft.
Taking no risks the team had two new shafts fitted to the rear shocks for race 2 to make sure that neither could fall victim to fatigue.
In race 2 Tony was once again making inroads after starting well back on the grid. Shortly after pitting the same problem with the shock absorber recurred putting Tony out of the race once again.
"It is disappointing to have the same problem put us out two races in a row but we took every precaution that we could have to fix it."
Further investigation pointed towards the shock fluid binding the shock absorber so it couldn't move, which then snapped the shaft.
Two replacement shock absorbers that had a different design were then fitted to the car for race three and the problem didn't occur again.
With two DNF's Tony had to start from grid 27 in the final race. A lightning start bolstered him a number of places off the line but it was deemed a jump start by the officials who imposed an extra 10 seconds on his pit stop as a penalty.
"I thought my start was ok but it was ruled as a jump so I just had to wear the penalty and get on with the race."
Tony did get on with it and worked his way up to 19th place by then of the race, in impressive drive considering where he started and the penalty he received.
"It was good to finish a race this weekend to close off the season on a positive note.
"I want to thank everyone at Rod Nash Racing from Rod and the administrative staff to the boys in the workshop and my family who has been a huge support.
"Also the sponsors that have travelled with us this year have made it possible to run the team, especially our major sponsor Bottle-O and all the other sponsors who have contributed to my first year in the V8 Supercar Championship."
The team will now start preparations for the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship which kicks off at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 in March.