Supercars young gun explains costly bolt blunder
Supercars star Anton De Pasquale has explained how a broken bolt cost him a career-best finish at Symmons Plains last Sunday.
The Erebus driver was on his way to a well-crafted seventh place in the 200-kilometre feature race in Tasmania, only for the pivot bolt in the gear selector to come loose and leave him unable to change gears with a handful of laps to go.
"I went down into – I don’t know where it was – one lap and felt the gear-lever moving around a bit," said De Pasquale.
"Then I looked down and the bolt was hanging out of it. I tried to put it back in, it obviously had no nut on it, so it wasn’t going to last forever, but I thought I’d try.
"Then I went down into Turn 4, went down two gears and when I went to go into third, the gear lever was just in my hand, stuck in fourth."
With attempts to fix the problem himself unsuccessful, De Pasquale returned to the pits hoping it would be an easy repair for his crew.
However he was told by the team to stay out instead, cruising around in fourth gear and finishing two laps down in 23rd.
“It was hard to communicate what exactly was happening,” said De Pasquale of a brief period of confusion as he came in for repairs.
“If it was only something small, I thought they’d be able to fix it, and then they seemed to think they couldn’t. By the time we got that all cleared up I was in pitlane.
"It was no big deal, it wasn’t going to affect what was going to happen, but I thought maybe we could have fixed it.
“I had no idea, I don’t really understand that stuff too well. It is what it is.
“Once you have a problem like that in a field like this, you’re never going to finish anywhere, where you want to be.”
According to Erebus CEO Barry Ryan, the exact cause of the failure is unknown.
"The gearshift pivot bolt has either broken or fallen out, so he was just basically holding the gearshift in his hand," he said.
"It's a one-off, it will probably never happen again.
"It’s a shame because he was running a strong seventh and it looked like he would have finished seventh.
“It’s disappointing for him because it pretty much was going to be his best result, so it was going to be a weekend of two Top 10s that he’s never had before.”
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