ANT PEDERSEN ACHIEVES AIMS AT AMAZING PHILLIP ISLAND Young kiwi driver Ant Pedersen has returned to New Zealand after his first taste of the "main game" V8 Supercars Series in Australia full of enthusiasm and keen for more. Pedersen had...
ANT PEDERSEN ACHIEVES AIMS AT AMAZING PHILLIP ISLAND
Young kiwi driver Ant Pedersen has returned to New Zealand after his first taste of the "main game" V8 Supercars Series in Australia full of enthusiasm and keen for more.
Pedersen had a great weekend as he teamed up with young Australian Damian Assaillit in a Fujitsu Falcon for the first of the V8 Supercar Endurance races, the L&H 500 at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria last weekend. The duo, a wildcard entry in the event, acquitted themselves extremely well and will be back in action at Australia's greatest race - the Bathurst 1000 in four weeks time.
The format of this weekends race at Phillip Island saw each driver take part in a shorter qualifying sprint race on Saturday before joining forces on Sunday for the 500 kilometre enduro around the demanding 4.445 kilometre circuit.
Pedersen continued the great form he had shown earlier in the year in the V8 Supercars Development Series during Saturdays 14 lap race. The Rotorua raised driver, currently studying at university in Palmerston North, made great progress through the field from his grid position to cross the line in fifteenth place in the first of the solo races on Saturday. Teammate Assaillit then went out in the car and recorded a 24th place in his race.
The following day the pair lined up in the Fujitsu Falcon alongside the cream of the V8 Supercar field. The goal for the duo, the youngest pairing in the race, was to bring the car home to the finish and this was achieved in style when they received the chequered flag after 113 laps of the fast, flowing circuit. Assaillit did the first stint in the race, pitting and handing over to Ant after 57 laps. Pedersen continued on in a smooth drive to the finish and remarked later that despite the distance he was pleased that he "didn't find it too physically demanding."
Pedersen was still buzzing about the weekend when he arrived back in New Zealand a day after the race. "It was just amazing! To finish the race was obviously the first goal. The experience gained from the weekend was invaluable and I think as a wildcard entry with an older car we certainly didn't make ourselves look silly. The early practice sessions were wet but after that the remainder of the weekend was dry which made it easier to fast forward my pace around the track and the car set up. The only real drama we had during the race was at our first pit stop where we had an issue with the refuelling jig. It held us up for maybe 30 seconds which hurt us, however we still finished so it is mission complete."
Prior to the race Ant had stated his aim was to get plenty of quality miles around the circuit. He certainly achieved that and with a good finish in one of the older cars in the race he has continued his impressive season in Australia.
The next mission for Pedersen and Assaillit is the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 from 7-10 October at the famous Mount Panorama circuit where the V8 Supercars reach speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour around the 6.213 kilometre track.