Early Incident Takes Irwin Racing Out Of The Race
IRWIN Racing is licking its wounds after a top qualifying effort was squandered inside the first 20 laps of today’s opening 300 kilometre race of the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600.
The IRWIN Tools Ford proved to be one of the strongest cars in the field when it qualified for the top-10 Shootout - after posting the fourth fastest time in the rain affected qualifying session.
Alex Davison might have dropped one spot in the shootout to start the first race of the weekend in fifth, but was pleased with the speed and the handling of the IRWIN Ford.
Every team down pit lane nominated their international co-driver to start the race, and IRWIN Racing was no different.
Marc Lieb, never having started a V8 Supercars race, made a slow start at the jump and was swallowed up by several cars to be 10th by the fourth corner.
Alex Tagliani made contact with the IRWIN Ford causing damage and then on lap 17 FPR’s Richard Lyons hit Lieb from behind forcing him into the concrete wall at turn 14.
A lengthy stop for front end repairs saw Lieb re-enter the race on lap 40, 23 laps down, turning the remainder of the race into a run for as many points as possible to keep Davison in the championship top 10.
Davison finished the race, passing the chequered flag in 23rd place. Despite the accident, Davison has maintained his ninth position in the championship.
Sunday sees a 30 minute qualifying session followed by the second and final race of the weekend starting at 1.40pm (Qld), 2.40pm (EST).
What IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison had to say:
“Firstly, Alex Tagliani was crashing into everyone left, right and centre and came from nowhere and belted Marc (Lieb) in the door and wrecked the exhaust. Marc lost a lot of positions then. Then (FPR’s Richard ) Lyons just clean put him in the fence. Professional guys that drive like that? They all know their job is to keep it clean and give their car back to the lead driver. All of us are racing for the championship. Some blokes put their helmet on, turn their brain off and drive like lunatics. It's pretty irritating. I said to Marc, don’t worry about it, it's not your fault. Marc said, “It was my fault I got a bad start”, and I said, “that happens, but after that you did nothing wrong”. He was really happy with the car but there was some sort of problem with the motor and it had no power, then this guy drives straight into him and we can’t do anything about it. It was the one that got away; we had a very good car today.”
What IRWIN Racing’s Marc Lieb had to say:
“Well my start wasn’t very good, but I got into a good rhythm and felt we were going alright. I got punted off by everybody, there were three or four guys just diving up through the inside, but they were so far back. They hit me and the exhaust was bent and I had no power on the straights but I was still going reasonably well. Then (Richard) Lyons just put me out on that last corner, he got a drive through, but that ruined our whole race. Had that not happened I still think we could have been in the top 10 at least. It’s really disappointing because there was just no need. We will now re-group and concentrate on tomorrow’s race.”