IRWIN / SP RACING FIGHT BACK FOR TOP-10 FINISH AT PHILLIP ISLAND IRWIN/SP Tools Racing's Alex Davison and Shane van Gisbergen have had an afternoon of highs and lows, before finishing 10th at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island. Starting sixth, ...
IRWIN / SP RACING FIGHT BACK FOR TOP-10 FINISH AT PHILLIP ISLAND
IRWIN/SP Tools Racing's Alex Davison and Shane van Gisbergen have had an afternoon of highs and lows, before finishing 10th at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island.
Starting sixth, Davison jumped off the start to fourth place before moving to third on just the fourth lap of the race. The IRWIN Racing driver slotted in behind leaders Jamie Whincup and his brother Will Davison, before a loose wheel ruined any chance of a strong finish on lap #18.
Smoke from the right front wheel was the first indication of something going wrong before the tyre punctured heading into Lukey Heights. Davison drove the #9 IRWIN/SP Tools Ford slowly back to the pits before the team changed all four wheels and filled the car full of fuel. Davison returned to the track a lap down on the leaders and in 28th position before a safety car put him back on the lead lap.
Over the next 24 laps he charged back up the order to 10th place before handing the car over to team-mate Shane van Gisbergen on lap #51. Van Gisbergen was able to maintain the rage, but with no further safety cars for the remainder of the race he could not truly show the pace of the IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Falcon. As well as finishing 10th in the race, the Davison/van Gisbergen Falcon finished ninth on points after scoring points in yesterday's qualifying races.
The second #4 IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Ford of John McIntyre and Daniel Gaunt made a solid start to the race from 12th position. McIntyre steered clear of numerous incidents over the opening laps before handing the car to Gaunt on lap #55. Running in 24th position, Gaunt put his down for a solid 58-lap run through to the chequered flag to take a 17th place finish. With the qualifying points added, the #4 duo finished 16th for the weekend; an encouraging result for two non full-time V8 Supercar Championship Series drivers.
The IRWIN/SP Tools Racing team will now focus their energies on the Australia's premier motor sports race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on 8-11 October.
WHAT ALEX DAVISON HAS TO SAY:
"It started unbelievably for the IRWIN/SP Tools Ford. We got a great start, moved into third and looked set for a strong afternoon. We certainly had the pace to run with the leaders, but then we had a loose wheel. We are not sure what happened as it was 18 laps into the race. I first got an indication of something being wrong at turn #2 and then around the other side of the circuit it cut the tyre down. There are plenty of positive to take away from the weekend, but we would like to certainly improve our qualifying and car balance. Both Shane and I certainly worked the car to make our way back up through the field. Plus Shane didn't get any benefit of a safety car so at the end he ran out of rubber. We are feeling very confident going to Bathurst. The IRWIN/SP Tools Racing team does have legitimate pace and we are very keen to put it all together at Mount Panorama."
WHAT DANIEL GAUNT HAS TO SAY:
"It was a pretty hard afternoon and I certainly doubled my V8 experience. Although we had hoped for a final placing a little further up the order, it was important to finish. The car had pretty good pace and we passed and drove away from everyone around us. It would have been interesting to get a safety car and see our pace at the end. I felt that I improved the longer I went on and certainly that has been the big bonus this afternoon. One of the benchmarks is comparing times with the #9 IRWIN/SP Tools car and from where we started the weekend both John and I have closed that gap. I think we will continue to show that improvement at Bathurst."
WHAT TEAM PRINCIPAL ROSS STONE HAS TO SAY:
"We will have to have a good look at what caused the wheel to become loose. It's important to isolate the reasons behind it heading to Bathurst and make sure it doesn't happen again. It was a 500km sprint this afternoon and it really turned into a hard day with no further safety cars to give us a leg up. Importantly both cars finished strong and that is a great sign heading to Bathurst. When you think today's race was half the length of Bathurst, it shows just what lies ahead for all the teams at the Mountain."