NO JOY FOR D'ALBERTO AT PHILLIP ISLAND Tony D'Alberto's L&H 500 came to a crunching end at Phillip Island when his Rod Nash Racing Commodore left the circuit hitting a tyre wall on lap 94 after being set back by mechanical issues early in the ...
NO JOY FOR D'ALBERTO AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Tony D'Alberto's L&H 500 came to a crunching end at Phillip Island when his Rod Nash Racing Commodore left the circuit hitting a tyre wall on lap 94 after being set back by mechanical issues early in the race.
Paired with Jason Bargwanna, the two combined to put the car 19th on grid for the start of the 500km endurance race with solid performances in the timed qualifying and the two qualifying races on Saturday.
After just 10 laps of racing, and while positioned 18th, Tony reported an unfamiliar noise from the car and pitted to have the front end looked at in an attempt to identify the problem.
An inspection could not identify a problem so Tony continued on but had to pit on lap 22 when it became apparent the problem was with the tail shaft of the car and it would need to be changed.
The crew worked feverishly to get the car back on track and, in just 14 laps (around 20 minutes), the car returned to the circuit with Jason Bargwanna behind the wheel.
Unfortunately any chance of a result was over for the team but the challenge remained to finish the race strongly.
Bargwanna drove a solid stint, and when it poured with rain around race-lap 60 he pitted to hand over to Tony while wet tyres were also fitted to the car.
The rain eventually stopped and Tony pitted for the final time to fit dry tyres on race-lap 89, still 14 laps down.
Five laps later and Tony left the circuit at the Hayshed corner after hitting an unexpected wet patch on the track.
The car hit a tyre wall and was thrown back into the sand trap before stopping. Tony was shaken but unhurt physically by the incident.
"I am not really sure what happened," Tony said.
"It caught me by surprise and before I knew it I was in the wall."
It was a disappointing way to end what turned out to be difficult race; having the tail-shaft go so early in the race ruined it for us," he said.
"Bargwanna put in a good stint but unfortunately for him our race was run before he go into the car.
"The crew did a great job this weekend, especially when it came to changing the tail-shaft under extreme heat and pressure during the race.
The Rod Nash Racing team will now spend the next few weeks repairing and preparing the car for the biggest race of the year, the Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst on 9-12 October.