DAVISON GRABS TOP-10 IN OPENING V8 RACE IN NZ IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has scored his first top-10 finish of the year with 9th place in the opening race of the Hamilton 400 in New Zealand. After setting the third quickest time in...
DAVISON GRABS TOP-10 IN OPENING V8 RACE IN NZ
IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has scored his first top-10 finish of the year with 9th place in the opening race of the Hamilton 400 in New Zealand.
After setting the third quickest time in yesterday's practice, cooler conditions in today's qualifying session didn't prove to be conducive for the IRWIN Racing Ford and Davison started the 59-lap race from 16th.
He bogged-down off the line and slipped to 19th at the end of the opening lap. Davison then went on a charge to be placed 12th when he dived into the pits for fuel and rear-tyres only on lap #23. The decision to take just two tyres gave Davison track position in front of Todd Kelly.
However, on the following lap he got badly baulked by Jason Bargwanna and Todd Kelly slipped back ahead to 10th position.
Davison settled into a solid pace over the middle section of the race, but was constantly hampered by slow traffic.
The race had a final sting in the tail when Marcus Marshall collected one of the tyre bundles on the back-straight. A safety car was called onto the track and provided a final 5-lap sprint.
As others slid wide and positions were shuffled, Davison jumped one further spot during the chaotic run to the flag.
The IRWIN Racing driver was orginially given 10th place, but this was upgraded to 9th when Stone Brothers Racing team-mate Shane van Gisbergen was handed a time penalty for an incident early in the race with Paul Dumbrell.
"It was a solid result which earned us good championship points," said Davison.
"We still have a way to go, but we are heading in the right direction.
"I gave away too many spots at the start when I nearly stalled. This is something I will really need to work on at an upcoming test.
"We had reasonable pace in the middle of the race, but we just seemed to keep on catching traffic.
"The final 5-lap sprint to the flag was pretty exciting as we passed a couple of cars.
"Like in Adelaide I have a pretty sore foot from heavy braking. That's a conditioning thing that I will continue to work on.
"Strange to think that we need to qualify again before tomorrow's race, but we do have data from today's qualifying to work from. We will have a crack at a strong starting position for that race and certainly aim for a better finish than what we got today.
IRWIN Racing Engineer Wes McDougall was pleased to get a solid result on the board.
"Today's result was very important for Alex and the team," said McDougall.
"Qualifying didn't go our way, but our race package has really come on strong.
"The team work was excellent today and clearly the decision to take just two tyres got us the track position we desired. The plus side to that is that we have another two tyres to play with during tomorrow's single 20-minute qualifying session and the final 59-lap race.
"We will continue to work-on improving the IRWIN Falcon for both qualifying and the race. The goal is to come away with an even better final result."