SANDOWN WEATHER WOES FOR WPS RACING Typically inconsistent Melbourne weather worked against the WPS Racing team as they toiled hard against mounting odds during today's Betta Electrical Sandown 500. A top 20 placing for the ...
SANDOWN WEATHER WOES FOR WPS RACING
Typically inconsistent Melbourne weather worked against the WPS Racing team as they toiled hard against mounting odds during today's Betta Electrical Sandown 500.
A top 20 placing for the #48 entry driven by David Besnard and Craig Baird was a gutsy effort in extremely trying conditions, while valuable track time for Marcus Marshall and Alex Tagliani in the Team Australia #8 car netted them some major positives from the weekend.
An enforced mechanical black flag for Besnard early in the race initially worked in the team's favour and he'd managed to graft the number one spot by lap 65.
Baird then took control of the race, rejoining the field in seventh place before patchy rain and engine overheating issues played havoc with the outcome.
"The overheating problem was always going to be something which we had to try and keep under control during the race," said Baird.
"There were also some difficult calls to make with the tyres because of the weather and in hindsight we may have been able to hold off on some of those pits.
"But that pretty much summed up our day, we just couldn't take a trick.
"Atleast we came home with a clean car and will hope for better luck at Bathurst.
Similarly Besnard was extremely disappointed with the outcome from a race weekend that promised so much.
"The mechanical black flag called on lap 14 allowed us to refuel and that set us up well when the rest of the field came in for their first scheduled pit," said Besnard.
"But when the temperature problem developed it became a major issue.
"Throughout the afternoon it was hard to determine whether to stick with slick tyres or wets due to the rain and we did more stops than we planned for.
"Things just didn't click for us."
A late change in strategy saw Tagliani start proceedings for Team Austalia during his V8 Supercar debut and he showed great composure to hang tough before being shunted off the track on lap 32.
"I started from 25th on the grid and had got to 19th before I was shot straight off the track from behind," said Tagliani.
"That was disappointing because I was really starting to feel comfortable with the set up and we were on the pace.
"Looking at the time sheets our quickest lap during the race was in the top half of the field.
"Maybe if we could have rolled along with the rain and chanced things on tyres we could have been much higher.
"For my first experience with Marcus it was great. I'm excited about Bathurst in a few weeks, we had a competitive car all weekend and were matching it with the primary WPS Racing car."
Marshall showed great perseverance in his driving, resisting the temptation to pit for slick tyres on a drying track during the concluding stages of the 161 lap feature.
"It was a very strange endurance race with limited safety car periods and having to hang tough while others were swapping and changing tyre set up," said Marshall.
"We had to play things patiently and just dug deep and took our chances when they came along.
"Alex and I will be better for the run and our combination will only get better when we have the chance to chat about today's race."
Between now and Bathurst on October 6-9, Marshall and Tagliani will shape up for their next Champ Car World Series assignment in Las Vegas on September 24.