NO JOY FOR IRWIN RACING AT SANDOWN IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has finished a disappointing 21st in today's race at Sandown, after a gamble on soft tyres and a damaged front splitter failed to bring the desired result in the Norton 360 Challenge...
NO JOY FOR IRWIN RACING AT SANDOWN
IRWIN Racing's Alex Davison has finished a disappointing 21st in today's race at Sandown, after a gamble on soft tyres and a damaged front splitter failed to bring the desired result in the Norton 360 Challenge V8 Supercar event.
With just the one set of softer Dunlop tyres to use, Davison started on the sticky rubber from 18th position in the 200km race.
The IRWIN Ford started picking cars off from the outset, but just after he took 12th position from Craig Lowndes, he was unceremoniously spun off the circuit by Lowndes and he dropped to 22nd. A safety car just one lap later got Davison back into the fight, and once again he climbed back up the order to sixth position before making his first of two pit stops.
On that pit stop the IRWIN Racing crew changed to the harder standard Dunlop tyre. The plan was to put the softer tyres back on with around 20 laps remaining. However, a safety car just 12 laps later forced the hand of the IRWIN crew and they called Davison to the pits for his final stop and they put the softer Dunlop tyres back on for a 34 lap run to the chequered flag.
On that re-start Davison was pushed off the track by Jason Bright and he dropped from 13th to 16th. The final safety car period of the race looked to once again benefit Davison, but from the re-start the IRWIN Falcon lost front grip. It quickly became apparent that the front splitter had been damaged and Davison was forced to drive with the problem all the way to the end.
As well as the damaged splitter, the soft Dunlop tyres went away and Davison went from 15th to 21st in just a handful of laps.
WHAT ALEX DAVISON HAS TO SAY:
"The overriding factor was that we put the soft tyres back on way too early and I had absolutely no grip. Early in the race the IRWIN Ford had excellent pace and we were making our way through the field. Then I got by Craig Lowndes and at the very next corner he just put me off. I got back up through the pack and we put the harder tyres on and again we had excellent pace. The third safety car forced our hand on putting the softer tyres back on and not long after that re-start I got put off the road by Jason Bright. I felt we still had a chance for a top-10 after the final safety car, but the bottom side of the front splitter started to come away. I lost the front downforce and I started locking front brakes and had no front grip. At the end I simply had no pace compared to everyone around me and I just lost spots every lap through to the finish. We hoped the softer tyres would hang-in there, but the harder tyre would have been the better option."
WHAT IRWIN RACING ENGINEER WES McDOUGALL HAS TO SAY:
"It just wasn't our day. The IRWIN Falcon had good pace at the start of the race. We set the fourth fastest lap in the first segment, but incidents on the track forced our hand on taking a gamble on the soft tyres holding-on to the end. The positives we take out of the weekend were our Friday practice performance. The IRWIN Ford rolled out of the truck very quick and that will be our aim for the next round at Queensland Raceway. We will learn from things this weekend and aim to carry a strong Friday performance through to the races."