Mixed Fortunes For WPS Racing The international driver pairing of Alex Yoong and John McIntyre today continued their promising debut in businessman Craig Gore's WPS Racing outfit on day two of the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship ...
Mixed Fortunes For WPS Racing
The international driver pairing of Alex Yoong and John McIntyre today continued their promising debut in businessman Craig Gore's WPS Racing outfit on day two of the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sandown in Victoria.
After showing good straight line speed on Friday in generally dry weather conditions, the pair lined up today in rain-soaked practice and qualifying and again held their ground.
With neither having ever driven a V8 Supercar in wet conditions, the pair qualified in 22nd position for tomorrow's 500km endurance race.
McIntyre was first out in Car 48 in the 30-minute qualifying session and was expected to hand over to Yoong for the back end of the session.
The Kiwi, who is extremely experienced in wet weather driving, immediately showed he was comfortable in the conditions and edged the WPS Racing Ford Falcon to just inside the top 10.
As the rain started to ease and the pace picked up through the session, McIntyre held his ground and was on target for a final shot at the top 10.
However, he couldn't find the extra pace in the last few laps and was pushed down to 22nd.
"That was my first ever qualifying session in V8s and to have been running around in the top 10 for much of it was pretty good going," said McIntyre.
"It would have been nice to finish higher than 22nd but there are a lot of cars and a lot of experience behind us.
"I think we have a good car and if we stay on track the result will come."
Yoong, who made the decision to leave the well-performing McIntyre on track in qualifying, said he was happy to get to tomorrow's race with his car intact.
"There were a lot of cars running off track in those conditions so it is a nice feeling to still have ours in one piece," said Yoong.
"It is disappointing that we couldn't qualify higher but we have a long race ahead of us and we are both going well.
"Depending on the conditions we will make a few adjustments to get back on pace and be competitive in the race."
Team mate David Besnard, driving the Wright Patton Shakespeare Car 23, couldn't repeat his third place from the previous day and finished the qualifying session in 18th position.
"We are scratching our heads a bit after that session," said Besnard.
"Normally I'm extremely quick in the wet and so are our cars so we have to work out what went wrong and make sure we don't repeat it."
It was a difficult start to the day for Car 23 when Besnard's co-driver Neil McFadyen was ruled out of the race on doctor's orders just ahead of the morning's first practice session.
"I feel sorry for Neil and it's a shame he had to step out of the car after all of the work he has done to get here," said Besnard.
After discussion with race officials it was accepted that WPS Racing's Charlie O'Brien, who was at Sandown driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup, would step in as Besnard's partner.
"I felt my condition was hindering my performance so I had to make a call for the team," said McFadyen.
Even if McFadyen is well on Sunday he can't be re-substituted for O'Brien as final team pairings had to be confirmed by midday Saturday.
"It is a disappointing end to the weekend for me but I'll be here cheering on the team and I'm now looking forward to my next drive," said McFadyen.
"We are going testing ahead of the next round so I just have to focus on that rather than dwell on what might have been."