Bahrain: SBR race 2 report

VAN GISBERGEN TAKES SECOND PODIUM IN THE MIDDLE EAST SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen has scored his second podium in the Middle East, finishing today's [Saturday] 200km race at the Bahrain International Circuit in third place. After ...


SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen has scored his second podium in the Middle East, finishing today's [Saturday] 200km race at the Bahrain International Circuit in third place. After qualifying 14th for the 37 lap race the youngest driver in the series not only finished in the top three but also set a new lap record, posting the races fastest time of 2:06.9097on lap 25 with a full tank of fuel.

It was all thanks to a risky fuel strategy and gusty drive that saw van Gisbergen move up 11 places in the race while being involved in some high pressure battles and dealing with fading tyre grip. The #9 SP tools Racing Falcon crossed the finish line with 4 litres of fuel left in the tank, behind FPR's Mark Winterbottom in 2nd and Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup in 1st.

In a dream start to the season van Gisbergen will head home 3rd in the current Championship standings, with two podium finishes and two lap records under his belt.

IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison experienced another frustrating day in Bahrain after qualifying 22nd in the morning's 20 minute session. Unable to put a complete lap together on green tyres Davison found himself on the 11th row of the grid at the race start.

Davison's race was looking good when he got off to a blinding start and managed to pass ten cars on the first lap after avoiding chaos at turn one . The first lap incident involving HRT's Garth Tander and BJR's Jason Bright resulted in Tander facing the wrong way and the rest of the field scrambling to avoid contact.

The #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon managed to stay with the leading pack for the first stint of race until the tyres began to fade and Alex found himself once again struggling with car balance.

Wilson Security Racing's Tim Slade managed his best qualifying result of the season so far and started the race in 15th, one row behind his teammate. On the races opening lap Slade was run wide and onto the grass to avoid the Bright/Tander incident.

A result Slade lost valuable positions and for the rest of the race battled mid-pack to finish in 18th.

Shane van Gisbergen - Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9

"It was good to make up for yesterday, we qualified on the front row but we just didn't have the pace to turn it into anything good in the race. We changed the car for today and we didn't qualify well which is partly my fault but in the race the tyres held in a lot longer and we were able to pass cars and we had a great strategy that helped us jump cars in pit lane.

"We have worked pretty hard to be strong at the start of the season, we knew we would be good here but I guess I am surprised with how well the season is going for me so far.

"Mark [Winterbottom] and Jamie [Whincup] are still one step ahead of me in both car speed and driving to be honest. So I have some work to do and the guys have some work to do in order for us to take the next step up on the podium."

Alex Davison - Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4

"I had a really good start and on the first lap passed ten cars which was excellent. At that stage we were right behind Rick Kelly and I had pace on him so I was quite confident and thinking we were on for a good show but once the shine wore off the tyres we had no balance left at all.

"I struggled for most of the race with a pretty poorly handling car, but it seems to be a little bit of a reoccurring theme, I need to look at whether I am steering the boys up the wrong track with my feedback, I'm not sure.

"The SBR cars can be very quick as Shane as showed and it's encouraging to see him going so well so we will go back to the workshop and compare notes and see where we are at."

Tim Slade - Driver, Wilson Security Racing Car #47

"Qualifying was good, my best qualifying of the year, I was 15th and still I sort of didn't really have the best lap. There was some pretty easy time to be made up there and I think we could have been in the top ten if I had put a solid lap together.

"In the race I got a good start but when the HRT car was spun I was on the outside so I opted to go right across the inside of turn two, I actually thought it was bitumen I was heading for but it was grass. I would have gone there either way just to avoid that car. There were cars everywhere at that point and as a result I lost quite a few places.

"We had reasonable pace in the race but weren't really able to maintain it throughout all threes stints. We changed a bit on the car for the race but the end result was a lot like last weekend, I am still learning bits and pieces about the car.

"The car ran faultlessly all race and the pit stops were perfect so the team did a great job.

"The whole trip to the Middle East has been a real learning curve for me. I am looking forward to heading to a track I have raced at before so I can concentrate more on learning about the car rather than having to learn a new circuit at the same time."

The Stone Brothers Racing Team will now head back to Australia to prepare for the upcoming Adelaide, Clipsal 500 event.

-source: sbr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Rick Kelly , Jamie Whincup , Alex Davison , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Slade , Shane van Gisbergen