Two ten minute qualifying sessions and two 100km races
Qualifying was once again of vital importance – perhaps even more so at Queensland Raceway where it’s extremely difficult to pass. With cars so close in performance, less than a second between first and last, everything has to be spot on to qualify in the top 5. In the first session the team nailed it, putting the car in 4th spot on the grid, .118 behind polesitter Craig Lowndes. In the second qualifying Coulthard was just two tenths behind polesitter Mclaughlin but that was enough to put him down in tenth.
From fourth, the Lockwood Racing VF Commodore had a great start and briefly grabbed third before McLaughlin moved ahead on the first lap. Coulthard then held steady in fourth, comfortably ahead of Courtney but not able to threaten McLaughlin. What looked like a regulation run to the finish was turned on its head when the team discovered that the car was running critically low on fuel. With some careful driving, Coulthard managed to bring the car home in fourth before running completely dry on the cool down lap.
Coulthard had a difficult start to the race, losing positions in the first lap shuffle. Finding the car more difficult to handle than earlier in the day, Coulthard held on to 11th for much of the race before a tangle for first between McLaughlin and Caruso dropped them down the order, promoting the Lockwood Racing Commodore to ninth, faster than Tander’s HRT but unable to pass.
Race one: “It was a little bit more stressful than it needed to be. I got a message over the radio that we were running low on fuel and I had to start lifting. We made it to the end – just! Other than that the car really wasn’t that bad.”
Race Two: “We lost a couple of spots early in the race and managed to get those back but it’s tough to pass and we probably de-tuned the car a little bit between races. It was much nicer in the first one. We’ll evaluate everything but we’ll probably go back to the settings we used in the first race. Tyre life was pretty good in the first one so if it’s like that again tomorrow for the longer race we should be in good shape.”
Team co-owner Brad Jones
“It was a little bit cooler today and that meant the car used a little bit more fuel than we thought. Luckily it didn’t affect the result of the first race. Tomorrow’s longer race should be interesting. With pitstops thrown in there’ll be a lot of strategy and that means if you’re a faster car you shouldn’t be held up and get stuck back too far. It’ll be a different race tomorrow and hopefully we should get Fabian running in the top 5.”