Winton Motor Raceway
SVG NARROWLY MISSES WINTON PODIUM
Filled with promise after a strong qualifying performance, this afternoon’s final race provided some mixed results for Stone Brothers Racing (SBR), with the highlight being #9 SP Tools Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen stellar fourth placing.
After yesterday’s qualifying woes, SBR made the changes required to put van Gisbergen back into the top ten for the start of today’s 67-lap race – with the young Queenslander starting ninth on the grid.
... we turned it on and chased down the leaders but fell just short of the podium.
For most of the race van Gisbergen dictated his own pace, often commenting on the team radio his surprise at the lack of pace being shown by the rest of the field – and how good his car was handling on the soft tyre. From the beginning his Falcon flawlessly performed as directed, passing the opposition at will, with only the narrowest of margins at race’s end preventing him from standing on the podium this afternoon.
Tim Slade in the #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon also qualified well this morning, snaring tenth place on the grid. Slade’s car was the second fastest in qualifying when all his best sectors were combined but putting them together on the track in the 20-minute session proved elusive.
Making a great start, Slade was soon running as high as seventh in the opening stint, but an overshoot of his pit-box on his first pitstop cost him valuable time and track position. When Slade rejoined the race he found himself in a battle with Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly who proved difficult to pass. With his tyres degrading rapidly, Slade held on the best he could to eventually cross the line in 13th place.
With all races comes a hard-luck story, and today unfortunately the subject of that story was #4 IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison. After qualifying 13th this morning, and taking into consideration his brilliant driving yesterday, the day looked like being another cracker for Davison. Sadly though, an altercation on the opening lap saw him tumble down the timesheets to a lowly 27th and was the beginning of a tough day out.
Davison fought his way back through the field in the opening stint but an electrical fault required a battery change in his first pitstop which again cost him dearly. Having to finish the race without the aid of a radio, coolsuit and driver fan, Davison grit his teeth and pushed on under the tough conditions to climb back up into his eventual finishing position of 16th place.
Today’s great results well and truly keep van Gisbergen in the Championship hunt, and also cement SBR’s second position on the Teams Championship points table – extending their lead over FORD compatriot Ford Performance Racing.
SBR next return to the track in Darwin on the 17th of June for the SkyCity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley.
Ross Stone – Team Principal, Stone Brothers Racing
“This weekend really was separated into two races for us – one where we qualified poorly but everything in the race fell into place, and one where we qualified well in the top ten but had a few problems in the race. Shane did a great job looking after his tyres and had speed when it counted. Tim also did a great job, and Alex, had he not had the problems with his alternator would have been in contention too - so overall a good weekend for the team.”
Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
“Our qualifying set-up was much better today and starting from inside the top ten was going to make life easier in comparison to yesterday. In the first stint I took it pretty easy but I had a flat spot and which hurt us a little bit towards the end of that run, but we gained some track position with the early pit stop. The second stint was more easy driving, just maintaining my tyres and the third stint we turned it on and chased down the leaders but fell just short of the podium.”
Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47
“We made a great start and were running about seventh or eighth towards the end of our first stint. I overshot the mark on my first pit which probably made it a bit hard for the boys and cost us some time. When I came back out I struggled to get past Murphy and Rick and the car didn’t seem as happy in that second stint. In the last part of the race I didn’t have the confidence in my tyres to really push and with six laps to go I used up what I had left in them to gain those last couple of places. Overall it was a good weekend for our points and the team so I’m pretty happy.”
Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
“The car was really good today. We’ve really turned it around since Perth with regards to the way the car handles soft tyres which is promising. It was sensational how well it handled. Obviously it was disappointing to suffer the alternator problem and the pitstop to change the battery cost us – without a Safety Car we were unfortunately out of the running today. But the positive to take out of today is that we still managed to post a reasonable result after essentially having to start the race from the back of the field.”