The Stone Brothers Racing team headed to Darwin's SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercar round this week with a spring in their step, buoyed by their recent performance at Sandown, where JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney finished on the podium for...
The Stone Brothers Racing team headed to Darwin's SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercar round this week with a spring in their step, buoyed by their recent performance at Sandown, where JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney finished on the podium for the second time this year and young gun Shane van Gisbergen took his best ever V8 Supercar result with fourth for the round.
SBR's best result for the season provided some major gains, with Courtney and van Gisbergen's points haul hoisting them to seventh and 11th in the drivers championship respectively. SBR also made ground in the team's championship, moving into fourth place after the best team performance at the round.
SBR's recent display of speed has JELD-WEN Motorsport's Courtney looking forward to racing at Hidden Valley Raceway despite memories of a disastrous round there last year. Courtney qualified inside the top ten despite a roll-over in practice but was forced to sit out race three after getting caught up in race two's on-track carnage.
Courtney believes that his team-mate's rapid improvement has been a factor in SBR's recent good form and is confident of that form continuing at Darwin.
However, SP Tools Racing's van Gisbergen is not getting carried away with his V8 Supercar career best result, admitting that he is back to the difficult task of learning a new circuit this weekend as he makes his Hidden Valley debut.
The 19-year old has been putting in the hours on the race simulator and pouring over data with his engineers to familiarize himself with the 2.9km circuit. He will use the first half-hour practice session to get his head around the track before working on the set-up of the SP Tools Racing Falcon.
Courtney and van Gisbergen will have their first outing at Hidden Valley on Friday at 12:50pm. Qualifying and race one will take place on Saturday, following by races two and three on Sunday.
James Courtney, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport
"Everyone will go in to this round with a bit of the unknown with the new tyres coming on board, with the exception of Triple Eight and HRT. They may have a small advantage having tested the tyres late last year.
"From all reports it seems like it is going to be a better tyre for us. We haven't changed to o much on the JELD-WEN Falcon between rounds until we get a chance to see how the tyre goes.
"SBR's pace at Hidden Valley has been good in the past. Even last year when we had our worst round for the season we were still fast in practice until we got caught up in the carnage on track.
"We've had two podiums in the last three rounds and Shane had a great result at Sandown too. He's coming on really well and adding to the feedback which really helps the team's progression.
"We believe there is no reason why we can't continue our Sandown form this weekend."
Shane van Gisbergen, #9, SP Tools Racing
"This weekend I am back to a track that I don't know so we will be spending the half hour session learning the track and then getting on with setting the car up.
"The most common thing I have been told is that it is hot! I've been doing some laps on the simulator to make it more familiar and I have spent a fair bit of time with my engineers going through data, trying to soak up as much information as possible.
"Our results at Sandown don't really change our goals this weekend, particularly as it is my first time in Darwin.
"But the fact that both cars had a great result at Sandown does make a difference to the team; there is a lot of confidence on both sides of the garage.
"SBR was pretty speedy there last year, hopefully we get a good run and we can stay up there."