Fastest lap but no luck for Reindler Karl Reindler emerged from Sunday's Race 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with the fastest lap, but was left wondering what might have been after falling foul of an ill-timed Safety Car. The Fair...
Fastest lap but no luck for Reindler
Karl Reindler emerged from Sunday's Race 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with the fastest lap, but was left wondering what might have been after falling foul of an ill-timed Safety Car.
The Fair Dinkum Sheds Commodore driver continued his strong soft tyre form at Winton Motor Raceway, but was dealt a succession of cruel blows when the Safety Car appeared on lap 37 of Sunday's race.
"We were playing the long game," said Reindler of his team's decision to be one of the last drivers to make their first pit stop. "So we had good tyres on the car mid-race, and were really making gains on those around us.
"The Safety Car was unfortunate because it meant we all had to pit together for the second stop, so we lost the tyre advantage that we'd created at that point.
"Not only that, but the way it worked with track position and Paul Dumbrell not pitting, we actually got trapped a lap down, which was unfortunate."
Having un-lapped himself soon after the restart, Reindler promptly set the fastest lap of the race, before being delivered another blow -- a drive-through penalty for the car controller touching a tyre during the pit stop, and subsequently unsafely releasing the car into the fast-lane.
"The penalty was a bit hard to swallow," said Reindler, "because the pace of the car was very encouraging. We found a really good balance and consistency in the car over a race distance this weekend, which is very important with this tyre.
"We'd also survived an incident earlier in the race with Tim Slade. He'd gone off and came straight back onto the track and into the side of me at Turn 6. The steering was a little bent and the rear guard was rubbing on the tyre, but we pressed on and were still a chance of a great result."
Eventually finishing 23rd, Reindler had started the race from 22nd on the grid after equalling his best qualifying effort of the season -- impressively ahead of team-mate Jason Richards.
"We did a few different things in that session," said Reindler. "We had a bit of understeer yesterday, so we changed to Jason Bright's race setup for qualifying, in order to evaluate it for the race. We ended up just two tenths off what Brighty managed in the session which was very satisfying, because it meant we were going to have a very good car for the race.
"We also tried a new procedure to get the tyres up to temperature, which worked well. To be honest, if we'd been able to run a full qualifying setup, I'm confident we'd have found three or four tenths easily over what we did."
Earlier, Saturday's Race 11 of the championship had yielded a hard fought 21st place, with a lack of Safety Car periods making it an intense 40 lap affair.
"I was playing the role of a tyre engineer out there," said Reindler after the race. "I was busy the whole time trying to keep the tyres alive, continually making small adjustments to the anti-roll bars in the car, as well as driving it as straight as possible.
"I was very pleased to be the top rookie in the field at the end of it. I'm certainly not used to dealing with a car that changes so much over the course of a race, so I'm learning a lot as we go.
"I felt we managed the second set of tyres far better than the first - tyre management is just so important with this softer compound."
At the end of another encouraging showing from the Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Commodore, it was up to Karl Reindler's mentor John Bowe, and Team Manager Brad Jones, to summarise the weekend.
"Karl's done very well in these two soft tyre rounds," said Bowe, "It has been a very new experience for him with the way the changes behaviour over a race. He has shown great speed, and great maturity as well.
"He has that special ability where he can be in the heat of battle, right up under another car's rear wing, and he's able to give feedback on how the car in front is handling, as well as his own. That calmness and awareness he is showing at such an early stage of his career is exceptional."
Added Jones: "Karl did a great job this weekend. The soft tyre is hard to manage, both for the driver in the car and the team making the strategy calls.
"In hindsight we probably pitted him a couple of laps prematurely on Saturday - he didn't have a lot of tyre to work with at the end of the race. It was unfortunate in Race 12 that we had a few problems which meant the result didn't illustrate the speed we had, the Fair Dinkum Sheds team have gained more knowledge that will help them continue to move forward."
The 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series continues at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 18-20.
-source: Karl Reindler