Pukekohe: WPS Racing Sunday report

MIXED WEEKEND FOR WPS RACING IN NEW ZEALAND The WPS Racing outfit endured mixed emotions during the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship held at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand this weekend. Brazilian Max Wilson highlighted the...

MIXED WEEKEND FOR WPS RACING IN NEW ZEALAND

The WPS Racing outfit endured mixed emotions during the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship held at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand this weekend.

Brazilian Max Wilson highlighted the potential of the team by qualifying for the top ten shootout during yesterday's qualifying session, his 20th shootout from 53 round starts in the championship. After starting from position ten he continued this good form into the opening 36-lap race by finishing sixth.

Wilson's WPS Racing team-mate Jason Bargwanna also began the round in a positive fashion by moving up eight positions from his qualifying spot to cross the line in the opening race 11th.

Unfortunately the good work by both drivers was undone during the opening lap of today's first 50-lap race, the first of the controversial reverse format. Both Wilson and Bargwanna were involved in separate incidents during the opening lap. Wilson suffered a broken steering rack following a turn one altercation with another car and Bargwanna was left no where to go in the hairpin when two cars collided in front of him. The impact damaged his radiator and also caused damage to the front end of his WPS Racing Falcon.

On lap 14 John Bowe's throttle stuck entering turn one spearing him heavily into the barrier which brought about the red flag and halted the race. The WPS crew worked frantically to repair both cars during the hour stoppage and both drivers returned to the circuit for the restart. Unfortunately they were unable to complete 75% of the race distance and weren't classed as finishers.

The final race was going to plan for the team with Wilson and Bargwanna closing in on the top ten. Entering turn one on lap 30 the right front upright broke on Wilson's number 8 WPS Racing Falcon ending his charge.

"I came into turn one and felt something break. I was able to get the car onto the grass and miss all of the barriers but my race was over," said Wilson.

"It was a real shame because we had showed good speed and potential throughout the weekend. The final result was far from what it potentially could have been.

"Unfortunately though that is a part of the game we're in."

While Wilson watched from the sidelines Bargwanna held his position just outside the top ten to cross the line 13th.

"Overall the weekend was a solid result and we have come away from it with a healthy swag of points," said Bargwanna.

"Obviously it would have been a lot better and there was a spot inside the top ten for the taking if we didn't get tangled up in other people's incidents like we did in race two.

"Last year I had a good run at Barbagallo and I'll be aiming to be inside the top ten in the next round."

Team Principal Mark Larkham was pleased with the strong showing by the team and believes this weekend's performance has provided a solid grounding for the remainder of the year.

"The final result today was a little bit disappointing considering our strong start yesterday," said Larkham.

"It was a good comeback by Bargs in today's final race but also disappointing for Max. Unfortunately though the very nature of our sport means that there is going to be both happy and sad days, today wasn't the greatest of them all.

"The best thing out of the weekend is that we've proven that both cars have some good speed and are very competitive which should allow us to achieve some good results as the year progresses."

Mark Skaife claimed two race wins to take the overall victory for the round ahead of Mark Winterbottom and defending champion Russell Ingall. Bargwanna finished 14th for the round with Wilson 22nd.

Ingall leads the championship by one-point over Rick Kelly with Garth Tander 37 points further behind in third. Wilson is 15th with Bargwanna 19th.

The next round will be contested at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia on May 11-13.

-wps-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , Garth Tander , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Mark Larkham , Jason Bargwanna , John Bowe , Mark Winterbottom