SBR Fire At Grand Prix
Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) continued its great run this afternoon at the Australian Grand Prix with two of its three Falcons coming home in the top four.
Shane van Gisbergen in the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon secured third place on the podium, and his team mate Alex Davison in the #9 IRWIN Racing Falcon finished fourth. It could have been an even better day for SBR had Tim Slade’s #47 Lucky 7 Falcon not encountered pitstop dramas which curtailed his impressive run, with the young South Australian having to settle for 23rd place.
With van Gisbergen and Slade both starting the race from the second row, and Davison from seventh on the grid, this evening’s race promised some good results from SBR who are once again displaying the speed they enjoyed in the season opener in Abu Dhabi.
Van Gisbergen started the race on the harder-compound control tyre, while Slade and Davison called for the faster ‘softer’ sprint tyre which seemed to be the better choice, as - while expected - van Gisbergen quickly fell away from the lead pack, while Slade and Davison made considerable gains in the early stages of the race.
Van Gisbergen fought back though when strapped with the faster rubber, quickly reeling in those who had passed him earlier, but by then race leader, and eventual winner Jamie Whincup was too far down the road to be caught. While van Gisbergen managed to make ground on Garth Tander and Whincup, he ran out of laps and had to settle for third place.
Slade was enjoying stellar speed in his #47 Lucky 7 racer but it all turned sour, when on lap 13 he pitted for fresh tyres and fuel. A faulty wheel clip caused the pit crew much angst when changing the front right tyre and Slade tumbled down the timesheets as they fought to get him mobile again. Slade eventually returned to the race back in 23rd place.
Alex Davison also had his hands full in the closing stages, with a tenacious Rick Kelly on his tail. Kelly’s car was shod with the ‘soft’ tyre, and with Davison on the ‘hard’ he had to use every inch of talent - and his Falcon - to prevent him from getting past. With the end of the race saving him, Davison crossed the line just off the podium in fourth place.
The SBR Falcons return to the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit tomorrow evening for race two at 6.20pm.
Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
“My second sector in the shootout lap hurt me, but starting from the second row ensured we were going to be in the action. We started on the hard tyre which in hindsight I probably wouldn't do again when you look at how Jamie went. I had a bit of a coming together with Craig (Lowndes) which allowed Garth (Tander) to get through but once things settled down the car was really nice and then even better when we switched to the soft tyre - but by then Jamie was well and truly down the road. We have a good package and will start from third again tomorrow so I’m confident we can take what we learnt today and go one or two better.”
Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
“It was a pretty good day but one of the toughest races I've had for a while. There was plenty going on, particularly when I was trying to fight off those other boys on the soft tyres at the end. There were a couple of small issues with the car, a bit of overheating, struggled with my brakes, tyres going off – nothing major but enough to keep me busy and make me really focus on not making a mistake. Towards the end with Rick (Kelly) I knew I was walking a tightrope with regards to the rules we have to follow but I did what I had to and kept it fair. It was a great result for the team today with all cars showing plenty of pace – bring on tomorrow!”
Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47
“Speed-wise the day was really really good. We had the fastest last sector in the shootout so we were looking pretty good today. In the race I was hustled at the start a little from people trying big moves so I just let that be and concentrated on looking after my tyres which paid off later when I was able to climb up into second place. Then came the pitsop and the drama with the wheel clip and that was pretty much the end of my race.”