Canto narrowly misses top 10 at Phillip Island in season ender Garry Rogers Motorsport's Dean Canto has missed finishing in the top 10 in the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island by the barest of ...
Canto narrowly misses top 10 at Phillip Island in season ender
Garry Rogers Motorsport's Dean Canto has missed finishing in the top 10 in the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island by the barest of margins.
Finishing the round in 11th in the Repco Valvoline Cummins #34 Commodore, Canto was equal on points with 10th-placed Jason Richards, however the Tasman driver finishing the higher of the two in the final race and therefore edged out the GRM driver for the spot.
Nevertheless, it was a competitive showing by GRM in the final round of the season.
The weekend began with Canto qualifying 13th and team-mate Lee Holdsworth 20th.
The first 100-kilometre race on Saturday saw both GRM drivers settle into position, despite the opening lap incident that saw Jamie Whincup catapult into Jason Richards, sending the latter into a spin as the field followed through.
Canto made his compulsory pit stop at the end of lap six and would finish 13th, with Holdsworth improving two stops to be 18th.
In the longer second race, over 140 kilometres on Sunday morning, Canto would drop a spot to 14th, while Holdsworth was the big improver, talking the #33 Commodore to 11th place.
The final race of the season saw all of the focus on championship combatants Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes.
Canto would run home in 10th, hot on the heels of Greg Murphy and just in front of Mark Skaife, while Holdsworth got tangled up in an incident heading into the turn four hairpin.
The time lost dumped Holdsworth back in the pack and he would finish the race in 21st.
The weekend left Canto 17th in the final championship points, with Holdsworth 20th in his rookie season in the main V8 Supercar category.
PHILLIP ISLAND QUOTEBOOK
"We qualified fairly well at Phillip Island and not too far out of the Shootout. Our car speed wasn't too great in the first race but we stayed out of trouble and came through to basically finish where we started. I got shocking starts in both the first and second races and lost a lot of spots. I lost four spots at the start of race two and really struggled with the car from there on. It wasn't consistent and the lap times went off a fair way from where they had started. We made some pretty big changes to the car's setup for race three and it wasn't just quicker, but consistent as well and we did the same lap times all race. I did want to finish top 15 in the championship and we did come pretty close to it. There were a few instances this year, like Adelaide where we had a loose wheel and got put into the wall, and New Zealand with a fuel leak, where we lost some points that would have pushed us into the top 15, though the team and cars have progressed all year. I'm happy with where we'll start next year."
"Our practice session on Friday was the best start to a weekend that we've had all year. In the first race we improved a handful of spots but we changed the car for race two. We took some rear wing effectiveness off the car but levelling it out and made it a bit better in the fast sections of the track. It definitely was the way to go and we nearly worked our way into the top 10. In the last race I'd got a good start and was in ninth or 10th and the Lowndes incident happened up ahead of the pack. I turned to the inside to try and avoid it but got turned around and went to the back of the field. We got back on and got back to 21st, but it was a disappointing way to end the year. But the speed we had on the weekend gives us some promise going into next year. My aim was to finish in the top 20 in my first year in the series and I just scraped in there. Next year the aim is to get into the top 15 and keep progressing from there."