John Faulkner will make his race debut for the Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore team by driving the first stint in tomorrow's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 V8 Supercar Championship endurance event in Melbourne. The decision was announced today by...
John Faulkner will make his race debut for the Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore team by driving the first stint in tomorrow's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 V8 Supercar Championship endurance event in Melbourne.
The decision was announced today by team owner and lead driver Paul Morris, who will take over behind the wheel after the first scheduled pit-stop for driver changes. The 35-year-old from the Gold Coast said he believed the move to have Faulkner start the ninth round of the championship would provide the team with more flexibility and options as the 161-lap event progressed.
Faulkner will start on the fifth row of the grid after Morris finished ninth in today's Top 10 Shoot Out with a lap time of 1-min 13.016-secs around the 3.1km circuit in his VY Commodore, powered by a Holden Motorsport engine.
Morris' time was 1.479-secs slower than his best lap in the qualifying session earlier in the day. He said a reason for the slower time in the Top 10 Shoot Out was an unsuccessful gamble to fit two new rear tyres for his one-lap dash and he suffered from a lack of grip.
Faulkner, who raced regularly in the championship from 1997-2002 as a team owner and driver, completed a total of 20 laps in the three practice sessions at Sandown, two of them yesterday, and the other today. His best lap time in practice was 1-min 12.445-secs, recorded today.
Championship leader Marcos Ambrose secured pole position in the Pirtek Ford Falcon he is sharing with Russell Ingall by clocking the fastest lap of 1-min 11.855-secs in the Top 10 Shoot Out. The other front-row position was secured by the Holden Racing Team Commodore of Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly.
PAUL MORRIS QUOTES: "We've decided to go with John (Faulkner) to start the race. He's had plenty of experience starting races when he was running his own team, and he's shown this weekend he can run the speed we need. I think this will give us better options with our 'rolling' strategy as the race unfolds. We took a gamble in the (Top 10) Shoot Out by going with two brand new tyres on the rear. Unfortunately they didn't get up to operating temperature quickly enough, and when I did my lap the rear of the car was sliding around. My time was slower than I'd done in any of the other sessions yesterday or today. We had hoped the gamble might put us on the front row, but instead we're starting a little further back than we'd hoped for. It's a long race, and our aim will be to work our way forward and be in with a shot at the end. We've got a very competitive car and there's no reason why we can't get a good result."
JOHN FAULKNER QUOTES: "I did seven laps in practice today and tried some different spring and 'shock' combinations. The car certainly felt better for me, compared to yesterday, and I got down to a good pace quite quickly on 'old' tyres. My job in the race is to be consistent, stay on the lead lap, and hand the car over the Paul with everything still in good working condition. If it's wet it will be a horsepower leveller. None of the drivers want it to rain, but if it does it won't worry me because I've had some good results in the wet."