Eastern Creek: Wayne Gardner pre-qualifying results

Gardner feels pain of pre-qualifying pressure. Just 0.17 of a second was all that stood between Caltex Havoline Racing's Wayne Gardner and a place on the grid in this weekend's third round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek...

Gardner feels pain of pre-qualifying pressure.

Just 0.17 of a second was all that stood between Caltex Havoline Racing's Wayne Gardner and a place on the grid in this weekend's third round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek Raceway.

A spin in some gravel which had been brought on to the track by an opposition driver and a baulk by a slower driver cost Gardner the chance to complete his best two laps in today's pre-qualifying session at the Sydney circuit.

"I got in hot on the corner before the main straight and spun on some gravel which had been brought on to the track," said Gardner. "I had the speed for a low 33 (one minute 33-second lap) then got held up by a slower car and that was that. "I cannot tell you how disappointed I am."

While Gardner was desperately disappointed with the result in his home city, he did have some support back in the pits.

Gardner's qualifying run was watched from the pits by his good friend and Olympic swimming gold medallist Kieren Perkins, who later went for a ride in the #36 Caltex Havoline Ford as a passenger.

Perkins felt similar pain when he failed to qualify for the 400m freestyle event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, despite being the world record holder in the event.

He later won the 1500m gold medal in a massive upset, but had to watch from the stands earlier in the meet when the 400m gold was won in a time four seconds slower than his own existing world mark.

"I had lost the 400m by just 0.2 at the Barcelona Olympics and really wanted to win that event," said Perkins. "Days like the ones Wayne had today come and go in sport at the elite level, but you just have to deal with them."

Gardner will now commentate on tomorrow's twilight 12-lap race and then join the Network Ten team for race one on Sunday.

-sbr-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Wayne Gardner