SBR'S MOMENTUM STALLED AT PERTH Stone Brothers Racing will be looking to redeem themselves at next month's Sydney Telstra 500 event after a troubled weekend in Barbagallo, Perth. The teams qualifying woes continued today with Alex Davison ...
SBR'S MOMENTUM STALLED AT PERTH
Stone Brothers Racing will be looking to redeem themselves at next month's Sydney Telstra 500 event after a troubled weekend in Barbagallo, Perth. The teams qualifying woes continued today with Alex Davison positioned in 17th on the grid and van Gisbergen lining up in 22nd for today's 84 lap race. The only Safety Car period of the race threw SBR's strategy into turmoil when van Gisbergen was blocked at the pit entry when coming in to change over to a new set of soft tyres.
At the race start the field were forced to cut and weave around a stalled Coutlthard on the grids third row, van Gisbergen and Davison managed to get away smoothly but were soon at the back of the field on hard tyres.
The Safety Car period the team were waiting for arrived at the races halfway point after Holdsworth was unable to avoid T-boning a stationary Todd Kelly in the centre of the track.
The caution period was to be van Gisbergen's opportunity to change to soft tyres and rejoin at the back of the field, however when HRT's Will Davison blocked the Pit Lane entry Car #9 lost valuable time and was the second car picked up by the Safety Car putting him and lap down.
At the restart van Gisbergen was right up alongside Garth Tander overtaking him on the first turn to put the SP Tools Racing Falcon back on the lead lap.
Davison was called into pit on Lap 51 to change over to soft tyres, the SBR pit crew also taping up a flapping rear guard on the right hand side if the IRWIN Racing Falcon.
The decision to not pit car #4 under the Safety Car period cost Davison dearly as he was also left a lap down after his second stop.
With just 8 laps to go van Gisbergen was up to 16th and soon passed another three cars to take the chequered flag in 13th position, Davison finishing in 21st.
SBR will return to the Gold Coast immediately to begin preparations for the inaugural 500km event in Sydney in a fortnight's time.
Shane van Gisbergen - Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
"We didn't qualify well which was our biggest problem today. I did what I felt was an awesome lap but the times just weren't there.
"In the race we had pretty good pace compared to the cars around us on hard tyres and we ran well, then in the second stint I sort of just did much the same, just cruised around and set good pace.
"In my final stint I was coming into pit lane for my last stop and someone had hit the tyre wall and a few cars bunched up and I got stuck behind them. It put us down a lap to Tander and that just killed our race.
"At the end we had managed to save the soft tyres enough to pass about four cars to finish in 13th.
"I was excited about this event after our competitive results in Phillip Island but this weekend has hurt us a bit. I know we will be back up there in Sydney!"
Alex Davison - Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
"Today was a struggle, although we improved in qualifying a bit from yesterday the car just had a lot of oversteer and it wasn't putting the power down so it was just burning the rear tyres out.
"For a couple of laps on softs the car felt okay while they were grippy but the car just ate the tyres up and in the end it was a struggle to stay on the track."
Ross Stone - SBR Team Principal
"I think this weekend we just missed car setup, we just weren't good enough, at the end of the day that's the bottom line.
"Our strategy was good on the used tyre but unfortunately Shane got held up in pit lane enough to just put him a lap down, and from that point it was always going to be tough to recover. Otherwise Shane would have been in the mix with all that pace car stuff and I think we could have bagged a good result today, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
"This has been one of the most disappointing weekends we've had, we were building really good momentum going into this round, but none if it carried over here.
"We will have to do our homework for Sydney because I know we can run at the front and get a podium we just have to put it all together."