IRWIN / SP RACING READY FOR PHILLIP ISLAND 500KM BATTLE The twin IRWIN/ SP Tools Racing entries of Alex Davison/Shane van Gisbergen and Daniel Gaunt/John McIntyre have completed practice, qualifying time trials and qualifying sprint races ahead...
IRWIN / SP RACING READY FOR PHILLIP ISLAND 500KM BATTLE
The twin IRWIN/ SP Tools Racing entries of Alex Davison/Shane van Gisbergen and Daniel Gaunt/John McIntyre have completed practice, qualifying time trials and qualifying sprint races ahead of the L&H 500 at Phillip Island.
The #9 Ford Davison and van Gisbergen entry will start from seventh for tomorrow's 113-lap race, while the #4 Falcon will start from the 11th place on the grid.
On a day that featured separate sessions for each driver, it came down to the separate 13-lap sprint races to decide the grid. Starting from 12th position on the grid for the opening race, van Gisbergen charged through the pack to finish fourth. Under the rules one driver had to make a compulsory two tyre stop in either of the race, and this was performed in Davison's race. Starting ninth Davison pitted from eighth position for a lightning 5 second stop. He went on to finish 21st, just behind Garth Tander and Jamie Whincup.
Gaunt started the first race from 21st in the #4 entry, and a clever early pit stop strategy gave him clear track position. He was able to set a strong pace throughout the remainder of the race to finish 20th ahead of Mark Skaife. This allowed John McIntyre to attack in the second race, without having to stop he took the chequered flag in eighth position.
WHAT ALEX DAVISON HAS TO SAY:
"Overall the car is good. We tried slightly different set-ups between the two races so we could choose the best set-up for the race tomorrow. I have to say for me it felt better in qualifying than the race this afternoon. Obviously Shane had it hooked up in his race and that shows that when it is on song it works really well. If the car is well balanced tomorrow it will look after its tyres and we will be in with a show. What we need to do is make sure the car strong on each stint, take the most of our opportunities, have strong pit stops and we can be at the point end at the end of 500 kilometres."
WHAT DANIEL GAUNT HAS TO SAY:
"We had very good race pace today. It was easy to drive, stayed consistent and most importantly took care of its tyres. The call on the early pit stop was the way to go as it gave me clear track and I could really put my head down. Then when others pitted I could match their pace. There was no point in racing them for position today as John still had to drive the second qualifying race and really it is about tomorrow's big race. Today was roughly half a stint of what I will drive tomorrow and I'm sure the IRWIN / SP Tools #4 Ford can maintain the pace over a full load of fuel. We have now done everything we need to do for tomorrow's race. We will work on a few things overnight, plus john and I will do some extra driver change practice, then I'm sure we are set to go."
WHAT TEAM PRINCIPAL ROSS STONE HAS TO SAY:
"Our qualifying was disappointing as we had good speed in the practice sessions. But our pace in those short races this afternoon showed that we have a very good package for the races. To be seventh and 11th on the grid are good places to start. Alex and Shane have done a very good job this weekend, plus the Daniel and John in the second car have really followed the plan and a good starting position is reward for that. In terms of our strategy for the race we will wait until tomorrow before finalising who will start etc. The good thing is we have two driver pairings that complement each and no matter what the challenge gets thrown at them, they are up more than up for it."