SBR Shine At Surfers
In perfect Gold Coast weather, Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) has set themselves up for a great weekend’s racing, with all three of its Falcons making strong progress through the four 40-minute practice sessions at the Gold Coast 600 today.
Standout for SBR today was the combination of Tim Slade and Helio Castroneves in the #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon. Never out of the top ten all day, Slade and his Brazilian co-driver Castroneves quickly came to terms with the Surfers Paradise street-circuit, and for the latter part of the day seemed to be a serious threat to break Triple 8’s stranglehold on the top two places on the timesheets. Slade was unfortunately bumped out of third place in the dying moments of today’s final session but like his co-driver, is confident of another strong showing in tomorrow’s qualifying.
Shane van Gisbergen and his international co-driver Emanuele Pirro (Italy) also made a strong start to the weekend – finishing the day in fifth place, with Pirro becoming more comfortable in his new ride with every lap. The #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon also gave the front-runners something to think about overnight and will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend.
Porsche buddies Alex Davison and Marc Lieb (Germany) in the #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon made their presence felt too in the final two sessions, with Lieb and Davison finishing in eighth and 11th places respectively – with only a busy track preventing them from climbing higher up the timesheets which won’t be an issue tomorrow.
SBR’s Falcons return to the streets of Surfers Paradise tomorrow at 9.35am for qualifying, followed by the top ten shootout at 10.50am. The first of two 300km races for this weekend will start at 1.40pm.
Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing car #47
“Today was a pretty solid day and we made great progress. I was reasonably happy with my first stint and then Helio did an awesome job in his two on older tyres. We gave him some longer runs to get him comfortable in the car which he really enjoyed. His feedback has been great too – to the point where we can actually tune the car based on his thoughts. This helped dramatically because when I got back into the car everything was perfect. So overall a good day and a great platform to go into qualifying with – hopefully we’ll nail the top ten tomorrow.”
Helio Castroneves (Brazil) – Co-Driver, Lucky 7 Racing car #47
“It was a good day – the team really helped me get comfortable in the car. Even though it’s my second time here and in this car, it’s a learning process you have to adjust to but the guys are really guiding me in the right direction. I’m getting good feedback too from the other internationals Marc and Emanuele, and when you’re in this kind of situation it really helps you get comfortable out there and try a few new things which was reflected in being one of the stronger performers out there today - so anything I can to do help my teammate I will do.”
Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing car #9
“The first session was ok – we just worked on getting the balance right and then put Emanuele in for his sessions. He didn’t have the best tyres to work with but will come good tomorrow. In my last stint we put new rubber on and really started to make progress so everything is in order for a strong showing tomorrow in qualifying.”
Emanuele Pirro (Italy) – Co-Driver, SP Tools Racing car #9
“I made good use of both sessions today – I had a lot of things to learn; new car, new circuit, new team and being out of a race car for a while, so I’m pleased with my progress. I feel quite confident now – the car is nearly my car now – on Wednesday I felt like an alien, start of today half an alien and now not quite ‘my car’ but nearly there. I’m looking forward to the race now and supporting Shane in his chase for the title.”
Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing car #4
“Overall it was a pretty good day. The car’s in the ballpark now which is what practice is all about. I would probably be a little happier if I made the most of my tyres in that last session but we caught a lot of traffic which didn’t really help our cause. We’ll make some improvements tonight if we get a good run tomorrow in qualifying we’ll be looking good.”
Marc Lieb (Germany), Co-Driver, IRWIN Racing car #4
“The first stint today was basically getting used to the car again and learning the track, getting to know everything like the braking points which was difficult at first trying to equate back to the data but was much better in the second session with some better tyres. We’re getting there slowly - it took me a while to work it out but it’s all good now and should be good in the race.”