SOLID SEVENTH FOR WPS AT SANDOWN WPS Racing secured its second successive top ten result in the V8 Supercar Championship with Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird finishing seventh in the Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown International Raceway in ...
SOLID SEVENTH FOR WPS AT SANDOWN
WPS Racing secured its second successive top ten result in the V8 Supercar Championship with Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird finishing seventh in the Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne today.
Following the team's all time best qualifying effort by Bargwanna and Brazilian Max Wilson, who was this weekend paired with David Besnard, the pair of WPS Racing Falcons started today's 161-lap race from fourth and fifth place on the grid.
Wilson got the better start of the pair to steer his way into second place as the field entered the opening turn. The ex-Formula One test driver maintained his position inside the top three for the majority of his opening stint. Unfortunately he ran wide on turn one on lap 26 which dropped him down to ninth and despite battling a vibration under brakes remained in that position until he pitted on lap 52 to allow Besnard to take to the circuit.
Bargwanna was also making good inroads during his opening stint to be in fourth position when he pitted for the first time to hand over the driving duties to Baird.
The New Zealander put in some very consistent lap times, matching the drivers around him during his stint behind the wheel and handed the car back to Bargwanna on lap 107 in fourth place.
Besnard pitted a lap later to allow Wilson to climb back on board for the race to the finish.
A multi-car incident on lap 118, which resulted in a spin by Bargwanna and the safety car being deployed to retrieve the stricken car of Shane Price, was a turning point in the race for Bargwanna and Baird. Unfortunately the safety car paced the field with seventh placed Bargwanna as the second driver in line, almost a lap behind sixth placed Dean Canto.
As the race continued both WPS drivers continued to show impressive pace by matching the times of the race leaders. As a result of this speed they maintained their positions to cross the line seventh and 11th respectively. Bargwanna and Baird's seventh placing for the round equals the team's best of Oran Park last month.
Today's race was won by Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom. Finishing a close second was the Kelly brothers, Rick and Todd, ahead of championship leader Craig Lowndes and co-driver Jamie Whincup.
The next round of the championship is the Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst on October 5-8.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--.
Jason Bargwanna -- Driver #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"There was no doubt we had a top five finish taken away from us today," said Bargwanna.
"We were consistently inside the top five, and even ran as high as third midway through the race. I was trapped when the safety car came out right in front of me and wasn't the leader so I was caught over three quarters of a lap behind the next driver in front of me at the restart.
"In saying that though, a couple of months ago we would have been ecstatic to finish seventh but we've certainly raised the bar recently and are now aiming to be inside the top five.
"Bairdo did a great job as co-driver, when I got out of the car we were fourth and when I got back in for the final stint I was still fourth. We had good car speed and horsepower all weekend which will hopefully translate into a good result at Bathurst next month.
Max Wilson -- Driver #8 WPS Racing Falcon
"After yesterday's qualifying performance to finish 11th is disappointing but it was just one of those days were things didn't always go to plan," said Wilson.
"The race started off well and I was running as high as second during the early laps but I ran wide and lost a few spots.
"We got caught out with our first pit stop under the safety car which dropped us down a couple more spots. Both myself and Bezzy had an issue under braking for a lot of the race which was costing us time.
"Overall though we know that we've got a competitive package and should be able to battle inside the top five at Bathurst."
Craig Baird -- Co-driver #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"The team proved this weekend how much they've improved since the end of last year," said Baird.
"To be honest I was a little bit surprised by my pace over the weekend after being out of the seat of a V8 Supercar for almost 12 months.
"Bargs gave me the car in fourth and I handed it back to him in the same spot. It was disappointing he got turned around and was then trapped by the safety car. Obviously a spot inside the top five, if not even higher, was there for the taking."
David Besnard -- Co-driver #8 WPS Racing Falcon
"Overall I think it was a promising weekend," said Besnard.
"Unfortunately we had a brake issue in the race which was made the car hard to drive with a vibration under braking. I'm genuinely looking forward to Bathurst and hopefully our speed can be translated into a good result at Bathurst."
Craig Gore -- Team Owner
"It was one of strongest overall results ever but it could have been even better if some things went our way," said Gore.
"I think our speed in qualifying yesterday and our race pace today proved we have what it takes to be serious contenders near the front of the field.
"All is looking good as we head into Bathurst and hopefully we'll be able to get another couple of good results, maybe even a podium, there."