CASE OF 'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' FOR CORKERY AT FUJITSU V8 SUPERCAR SERIES FINAL IN SYDNEY
It was a case of 'mission accomplished' for Supercharge Batteries-backed Auckland racing driver Colin Corkery with a top ten finish in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar class at the final round of the 2009 Australian V8 Supercar championship at the big Sydney Telstra 500 meeting over the weekend.
Having only contested two other rounds of this season's Fujitsu (nee Development) series the 25-year-old from Auckland's North Shore was realistic about his chances against a full field of regular series runners and expressed himself well pleased with the 10th-14th combination which put him ninth overall for the weekend.
"It's always difficult dipping in and out of a series when the top guys are doing every round," he explained afterwards."I had a good test with the team (Paul Morris Motorsport) at Queensland Raceway last week but there's a big difference between doing a quick lap at a circuit you know and stringing together twenty of them on a new street circuit you've never seen before."
Particularly when niggling brake problems test your confidence in the second test session on Friday and the single qualifying session on Saturday morning.
"The first (practice) session was good but we probably only got five or six laps in the second, " he continued. "I had to come straight back in to replace one of the rear shocks then when I got back out they put the red flag out for someone. We also had a bit of a brake issue which turned out to be one of the calipers leaking. Initially we thought it was just the new rotors we put on for qualifying because there just wasn't anything there, which obviously made it hard to put in a good time, but when we put on another set (of rotors) for the first race and the problem was still there we checked the calipers and found that one of them was leaking so we replaced that for the second race."
Inconsistent brake pedal pressure is the last thing any driver would want on a concrete wall-lined street circuit but Corkery says he doesn't want to make it sound like an excuse.
"Learning the circuit wasn't too big an issue, really, as I think my time (Corkery was 10th overall) in the first practice session showed. As much as anything else the circuit's one that, I think, you really have to be ragged, to really ring the car's neck if you like, to get a time. When we looked at my data and compared it with (Paul Morris Motorsport teammates for the weekend Russell Ingall and Tim Slade) there really wasn't much difference bar a half a tenth here and a half a tenth there. But put those together over a circuit which is three-and-a-half kilometres long and you can see where the time is."
Corkery benefited from some of the biff and bash in front of him in the first race, finishing 10th after starting 15th and completing the 22 laps with only a dent in the bonnet to show for the rough and tumble typical of the Fujitsu V8 class.
But he wasn't so lucky in the second (shortened) one on Sunday, crossing the line after 17 laps in a hard-won 14th place after being shuffled back by the very drivers who didn't finish the first race and therefore started the second behind them.
"When you're not running the full championship you have a choice," says Corkery. "You can run with them and risk ending up in the wall. Or you can accept that you're there to run your own race and let them run there's. After the problem with the brakes I just wanted a chance to get a feel for the car in full race trim so from that point of view it was quite a good end to the weekend."
Series-wise the final round was all about the battle for the 2009 title between fastest qualifier and first race winner James Moffat and race two and joint round winner Jonathan Webb. By shadowing Moffat in qualifying and the first race, then beating him to the line in the second it was local man Webb who claimed the 2009 Fujitsu title from Moffat with David Russell third and Grant Denyer fourth. Despite only contesting three rounds in the Supercharge Batteries and ACA-backed Holden Commodore Corkery ended the year 18th overall.
Having now contested two full Yokohama V8 Ute Series championships and now a three-round 'toe-in-the-water' effort in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series this season, Corkery believes he has done enough to justify running a full Fujitsu campaign next season.
"That's what I'd like to do anyway," he says, " It's a fairly big step from the Utes to the V8s but now that I've done it I'm glad I have."
Corkery says he is also happy he decided to make the new Sydney Telstra meetings one of the ones he contested this year.
"In terms of the track it is fairly typical of a street circuit in that it's narrow, bumpy and most of the corners are 90 degrees, but as an event it's been fantastic. The place has been pumping all weekend."