Round 4 - Shell Championship Series Phillip Island, Victoria RADISICH'S RECOVERY DESTROYED BY INCIDENTS What started as a remarkable recovery in the first leg of round four, soon turned to disbelief for the Shell Helix Team, when Paul ...
Round 4 - Shell Championship Series
Phillip Island, Victoria
RADISICH'S RECOVERY DESTROYED BY INCIDENTS
What started as a remarkable recovery in the first leg of round four, soon turned to disbelief for the Shell Helix Team, when Paul Radisich was barged in two blatant incidents in race two and three.
In stark contrast to the tropical conditions of Perth two weeks ago, Phillip Island brought high winds, heavy rain and cold temperatures. Melbourne experienced its coldest May day on record on Saturday adding another dimension to an already daunting weekend. For the Shell Helix Team this would be the first run of the 99 season on wet tyres.
Following morning practice of 45 and 30 minutes each, qualifying was condensed to one half hour session for all V8 competitors, ruling out the possibility of changing weather conditions between the session allocated to the top 50 per cent and the later one for the remaining field.
The uniquely unpredictable Phillip Island weather delivered its first cruel twist of the weekend, the clouds clearing just before qualifying making way for a sunny and dry session.
Hampered by a lack of dry running at the notoriously fast and unforgiving track, the Shell Helix Team did not turn up a performance in line with morning testing.
Paul Radisich was disappointed to finish 19th, despite trying a number of changes during the session, meaning he was faced with the prospect of making up ground at the same rate as he did at round three at Barbagallo.
Race 1 - 12 laps ( extended to 15 ) Weather: Heavy rain, wet track
Undisputedly, the drive of race one belonged to Paul Radisich, who rose from his surprising qualifying position of 19th to fifth in abysmal conditions and almost nil visibility. If Perth was any indication of Radisich's ability to work his way through the field, today's first race rubber-stamped his acumen.
Charging off the line through inhibiting spray, Radisich had already made up five places over the first lap before the safety car emerged on lap two to allow clearance of Bargwanna's wrecked car at the end of the pit straight. Three safety car laps later, the race resumed over the new distance of 15 laps. Losing no time, the Shell Helix driver took Tander and Crompton in swift moves, promoting him to 10th, from where he lined up the next pack of Faulkner, Larkham, Bowe and Tander ( who had re-passed Radisich .) The opportunity came at Honda Corner, when Radisich moved up alongside Tander , to squeeze past the unsettled Larkham and Bowe and so into seventh place, to find the next piece of action.
Passing Richards on lap twelve and making up a place from Ingall's excursion across the grass, Radisich crossed the line in fifth.
Race 2 - 12 laps Cool, dry track
Owing to the red flag incident at the end of race one, the race result was called after 14 laps, therefore, Radisich would start the second leg from sixth on the grid.
In a determined display, Radisich again showed his mettle, taking positions off Ingall and Tander over the first four laps. But it was Tander who in a desperate move at Honda Corner, ran into the Kiwi, spinning him round into the path of the oncoming traffic.
Radisich rejoined in 14th and finished 13th at the chequered flag.
Race 3 - 12 laps Cool, dry track
Yet again Radisich was faced with the task of picking off places to recover his form. Hampered by a lack of dry track running at Phillip Island, the Shell Helix AU Falcon was certainly more comfortable in the wet of the first race and in spite of his best efforts, Radisich found it an uphill struggle to overhaul those ahead.
However, he kept his head down and lay eighth on the road, only to be dealt another blow, this time in the guise of young Lion Noske, who rammed the left rear wheel of Radisich's AU, tipping him off the track and onto the grass.
Lap seven of 12 and Radisich's day was over - one that would be best put down to experience.
Quote from Paul Radisich
"As a positive we certainly now know what doesn't make the car tick, so testing will be critical before we go to Darwin. I had a race weekend I would prefer to forget and I can't say Phillip Island will exactly be featuring in my photo album ! "