Round seven - Shell Championship Series for V8 Supercars Willowbank Raceway , Queensland 10-11th July 1999 Willowbank's debut will be remembered as a "tyre challenge" causing "hero to zero" for a number of the Saturday pace-setters. The...
Round seven - Shell Championship Series for V8 Supercars Willowbank Raceway , Queensland
10-11th July 1999
Willowbank's debut will be remembered as a "tyre challenge" causing "hero to zero" for a number of the Saturday pace-setters.
The Shell Helix Team had its share of challenges, but with Paul Radisich's two fifths and a sixth, it served as useful preparation for the Queensland 500 in September. Radisich missed a place on the podium by a whisker, awarded fourth overall on the day in front of an enormous crowd of 28,000 race-goers.
Starting as this weekend's favourite to beat the brace of HRT Holdens after his impressive performance two weeks ago at Sandown, locally-based Paul Radisich took to the brand new Queensland Raceway for fifteen minutes of qualifying. Returning to the pits after just one lap to restore his rev counter, Radisich lost a couple of laps and could not complete the qualifying sequence. However, he beat his best practice time by three tenths, making seventh on the grid for Sunday's first race.
" Having lost a little time visiting the pits early in the session it became critical to register a quick lap soon after I had rejoined. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get my tyres to the optimum performance or to run with a clear lap. But saying that we are still seventh which puts us in contention tomorrow " the Kiwi said after qualifying today.
Race one - STARTS: 7th 20 laps
An early safety car appearance on the first lap bunched the field for three laps, while a number of damaged cars were removed from the first corner.
Radisich held seventh before taking a place from Bowe on the 14th lap. As tyre wear was the principle issue , it was crucial to conserve tyres, but by using a careful strategy the Shell Helix driver was fastest man on the circuit for much of the second half of the race.
Stealing another place from Bright on lap 17, Radisich crossed the line in fifth.
Race two - STARTS: 5th 10 + 6 laps
The threatening rain arrived mid-way through the second race, a sprinkling turning to a persistent fall - enough to cause a rush of visitors to the pit lane for a swap onto "wets". The rain coincided with a red flag and the race was stopped on lap ten, At this point Radisich was running fourth on the road, but the result was called on lap nine when running sixth.
Race two - part two
Radisich blasted off the line charging to fourth by the first turn. Pressuring Skaife for third for three laps, his chance came at the first turn once again, when he slid down the inside at the end of the pit straight, taking the corner ahead of the HRT Holden.
Finishing a fine third over the second six laps, Radisich was awarded fifth overall ( combined result ) for the two legs of race two.
Race three - STARTS: 5th 17 laps
Another good start bumped the number 18 Shell Helix Falcon into fourth on the first lap, however, Radisich's progress was short-lived when Richards' Holden spun in his path and then collected Radisich, who also took a swipe from the car on his right.
Tyre wear hampered most of the field, some front-runners sliding down the order mid-way through the 17 laps.
Radisich held onto sixth, which gave him joint third overall on points over the three races. But the Shell Helix driver lost out to Bright, who was awarded the place on the podium for finishing ahead of Radisich in races two and three.
Next Race: 25 July - Calder Park, Victor.
http://www.paulradisich.co.nz and http://www.paulradisich.co.uk