VAN GISBERGEN FIGHTS BACK TO FINISH IN THE TOP TEN AT SANDOWN

Shane van Gisbergen put in a gutsy drive to finish 9th in today's opening race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge. The race started in dramatic fashion when an incident on the opening lap caused a safety car that was later upgraded to a red flag delaying the restart by 20 minutes as race officials repaired a damaged tyre wall.

After another dreadful qualifying session van Gisbergen started from 18th on the grid next to teammate Alex Davison in 17th. In the race, that was later cut short 7 laps due to the delay, van Gisbergen fought back and overcame an illness to move inside the top ten while Davison struggled with understeer in the IRWIN Racing Falcon finishing 15th.

It was a frustrating day for Wilson Security Racing's Tim Slade who suffered a damaged right front shock early in the race causing the #47 Falcon to lock brakes, crossing the line in 18th.

Shane van Gisbergen - Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9

"I wasn't feeling good at all before the race, I was really struggling but as soon as the adrenalin kicked in I felt better but I'm coming back down again now.

"We had a really good car in the race, I didn't get the best first lap, twice, but our car just started really going, it was great on tyres and I was able to pass some guys. When I had clear track I was able to lay some really good lap times down and cleared a few positions in the pit stop.

"We can't work out why we can't make the tyres work for us in qualifying, it's really frustrating but looking at the data after the race we are one of the quickest cars out there, we just need to get our act together for qualifying and it will make the job in the race alot easier."

Alex Davison - Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4

"It was a tough race, we just didn't have any car speed today. We struggled with its handling right through qualifying and during the race we struggled with very, very, very bad understeer.

"The tight corners really need a car that rotates well before anything else, we had the exact opposite. It didn't leave us much to work with, but we did what we could to keep it on the track. Collectively we'll be putting our heads together tonight to try and find a solution because today's performance wasn't good enough."

Tim Slade - Driver, Wilson Security Racing Car #47

"Just a frustrating day for car #47, we struggled with a damaged shock and just couldn't stop the car from locking brakes. We have had a tough couple of weeks really, I am just looking forward to tomorrow and trying to get back into the form we carried earlier in the season."

The V8 Supercars will be back on track tomorrow at 11:15am for qualifying before the 65 lap race at 3:05pm

-source: sbr