VAN GISBERGEN & COURTNEY POSITIVE AHEAD OF FIRST SPRINT ROUND AT SANDOWN SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen will be back on familiar territory at Melbourne's Sandown International Motor Raceway this weekend after debuting at a string of new...
VAN GISBERGEN & COURTNEY POSITIVE AHEAD OF FIRST SPRINT ROUND AT SANDOWN
SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen will be back on familiar territory at Melbourne's Sandown International Motor Raceway this weekend after debuting at a string of new circuits in recent rounds of the 2008 V8 Supercar series.
The young Kiwi driver made his second V8 Supercar start at Sandown last year and is fast approaching 12 months in the V8 Supercar scene.
This weekend's meeting will, however, he his first sprint race one for van Gisbergen at the Melbourne venue.
His teammate at Stone Brothers Racing, JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney is another in a long list of V8 Supercar drivers looking forward to their first sprint round at the 3.1km circuit which in the past has hosted a pre-Bathurst enduro event.
Stone Brothers Racing's second test at Queensland Raceway last week has both Courtney and van Gisbergen in a positive frame of mind with Courtney confident that gains made at the test will translate into speed at up-coming events.
Van Gisbergen is also feeling at his most comfortable in the SP Tools Racing Falcon after five race meetings with the team.
This weekend's meeting is a special three-day one with practice on Saturday at 12:50pm, followed by qualifying and race one on Sunday and races two and three on Monday
Shane van Gisbergen, #9, SP Tools Racing Falcon "Sandown is the first track this year that I've raced on before.
"Last year was an endurance race and we were looking better towards the end. I think we set the fifth fastest lap of the race so we were definitely getting the hang of it.
"I think Sandown will be good as a sprint round. It's a track with medium grip and there are a couple of good passing opportunities into turn one and down the end of the back straight. It's tight in pit lane so it will be touch and go on strategy but it's going to be exciting.
"We found some improvements in the SP Tools Racing Falcon at testing and I found a bit in myself too. We can put the extra half-hour practice session on Saturday to good use, really settle in and get into it."
James Courtney, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport "Sandown is going to be a whole different ball game as a sprint round rather than an endurance event.
"I haven't raced at a Sandown sprint round and there will be a few guys in the same situation as me so I'm sure we will see a lot of different approaches about how to attack the races.
"Sandown really suits the SBR cars with the short bumpy corners. We were quickest in practice last year and just got pipped in the shootout for pole.
"We had a great test last week; the gains we found should carry over to Sandown and future rounds."