Philip Island: SBR Race report

SBR Falcons take top ten finish at the Island Stone Brothers Racing Falcons claimed top ten finishes at today's L&H 500 V8 Supercar series race at Phillip Island, grabbing the strongest result of any V8 Supercar team at the event. JELD-WEN ...

SBR Falcons take top ten finish at the Island

Stone Brothers Racing Falcons claimed top ten finishes at today's L&H 500 V8 Supercar series race at Phillip Island, grabbing the strongest result of any V8 Supercar team at the event.

JELD-WEN Motorsport's James Courtney and David Besnard finished sixth with the SP Tools Racing team of Shane van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb crossing the line in tenth.

The inaugural modern-day 500km event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit produced plenty of action in its 113 laps with numerous incidents and safety cars, a rain period and lead changes creating an exciting race.

Courtney started the race solidly, holding third position early until a delaminating tyre forced a premature pit stop and driver change, throwing the JELD-WEN Motorsport team's strategy to the wind.

Besnard recovered well from the incident early in his stint but struggled with tyre wear towards the end and was eventually forced into the pits earlier than expected by a second delaminating tyre on the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon.

The ensuing rain and safety cars played into the duos hands, at one stage moving the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon into second position. However, further changing conditions pushed Courtney back to fourth at the final safety car restart, the JELD-WEN Motorsport driver dropping back to sixth in the closing laps as his tyres went off and he struggled for traction.

The SP Tools Racing duo of van Gisbergen and Webb also rode the Phillip Island rollercoaster, van Gisbergen at one stage leading the race from lap 82 through to 88, showing amazing skill in the rain as he pulled over a second a lap from second placed Jamie Whincup.

The SP Tools Racing crew gambled on the weather when the safety car was deployed, electing to stay on rain tyres when much of the field swapped back to slicks. Phillip Island's unpredictable weather didn't play into the young Kiwi's hands and he stopped during the next safety car period for dry weather tyres, dropping back to 12th.

Van Gisbergen had some big moments on a greasy track towards the end of the race, at one stage jumping across the track and through the kitty litter. The SP Tools Racing driver recovered however and settled into tenth position until the chequered flag.

JELD-WEN Motorsport finished fifth on points for the round with SP Tools Racing ninth on points. Courtney holds his eighth place in the driver's championship standings. Van Gisbergen is currently 14th.

The Season of Endurance continues at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, NSW on 9-12 October 2008.

James Courtney, JELD-WEN Motorsport

"We had a lot of pace out there today but we couldn't hang onto it for long enough.

"In the rain we were doing it easy and in the dry we were great too but not for long. The JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon really suffered from tyre wear, it seemed worse with our car than those we were racing with.

"Added to that we had three tyres delaminate which threw our strategy out. We are going to have to work out why that is happening and get on top of it.

"It's been a pretty tough event, very strategic. We know what we need to get on top of for Bathurst now."

David Besnard, JELD-WEN Motorsport

"Sixth is not a bad finish at an endurance event but I have to say we are a little disappointed; we showed more promise and speed than that.

"The JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon was great early but the end of each stint we had nothing to work with, the tyres were shot and I just couldn't hold off the guys we were racing with.

"It was a pretty hard day, there was plenty going on."

Shane van Gisbergen, SP Tools Racing

"In hindsight we should have pitted for dry tyres during that first safety car period when others did but we were really fast in the wet and we thought we could make a lot of ground.

"It was always going to be touch and go.

"We ended up tenth which going into the event I probably would have said I would be happy with that but I guess your goals change throughout the day when you are running at the front!"

Jonathon Webb, SP Tools Racing

"I was pretty comfortable straight off the bat today; probably a little slow to get on the pace but I had a good stint.

"We always thought the top ten was feasible, ideally the top five would have been great but we ran up there for a time so it was a good effort.

"For me today was very good preparation for Bathurst. I needed those laps in the car to get used to the adjustments in the car, the bias the bars.

"It was a good learning curve today and it puts me in a much stronger position for Bathurst."

-credit: sbr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , David Besnard , Jamie Whincup , Jonathon Webb , Shane van Gisbergen , Phillip Island