Team Betta Electrical started its New Zealand campaign in a safe manner at Pukekohe this weekend. For Paul Radisich driving Team Betta Electrical car 65 it was the opportunity to do well in front of his home crowd in New Zealand. For Dean ...
Team Betta Electrical started its New Zealand campaign in a safe manner at Pukekohe this weekend.
For Paul Radisich driving Team Betta Electrical car 65 it was the opportunity to do well in front of his home crowd in New Zealand.
For Dean Canto in Team Betta Electrical car 66 it was another opportunity to impress in his bid for a drive for 2004.
In the qualifying held on Friday, Radisich was able to come in at 9th position. Canto came in at 13th position.
The steady approach carried through to "The Rat's " efforts in the Top ten shoot out early Saturday. After completing the warm up early in the morning both drivers were confident of a good race.
Radisich commented that the car felt positive in its handling and he was looking for good race on Saturday afternoon.
During the Top ten shootout the conditions varied significantly. As the shoot out began the skies became noticeably darker with the threat of rain, Todd Kelly and Paul Radisich got through before the threat became a small mist of rain on the track, slowing the pace of the next four drivers through.
The rain seemed to ease for the remainder of the field giving what everyone thought would be an interesting line-up for the start of Race one.
"The Rat ended up in 5th position on the grid, with Todd Kelly taking his second consecutive pole position ahead of the home town favourite and two time winner here, Greg Murphy who was positioned in third on the grid.
Jason Bright driving Team Brock, Better Electrical car 50 got the second position in the front row as a result of the shoot out.
A controversial decision was made to negate the outcome of the shoot-out based on the inconsistency of conditions.
This meant that the two Team Betta Electrical cars were disadvantaged, particularly Paul Radisich in car 66 who had improved his starting position by 4 valuable places.
"The Rat" commented that the officials need some consistency in their application of the rules. He was not at all happy with the decision to discount the shoot-out outcome.
The race finally got underway in somewhat wet conditions.
A racing incident between Wilson in the Shell Helix car 18 and Skaife in the HRT car 1 on the 1st corner gave the remainder of those in the top 10 a chance to improve their positions.
A further chance came with another racing incident on the 2nd corner with another 3 cars coming together. This incident brought out the safety car and also opened the window for and early mandatory pit stop for tyres.
" The Rat took the opportunity to pit on lap 4 rejoining the race in 9th position. Canto was placed at 22nd position.
With a wet track, the lap times were much slower than had been anticipated, with some drivers barely able to achieve a best lap time of one minute, this coupled with the need for safety cars, meant the race was shortened to 36 laps.
Car 66 and 65 continued to improve their positions throughout the race with careful thought and strategies for improvement coming into play.
Dean Canto said, "the car performed well in the trying race conditions and overall I was happy with the outcome of the race. Paul Radisich commented, " About 5 laps from the end of the race when the race line had dried out considerably, the tyres were starting to 'go off.'
Having had an early pit stop meant they were fairly well extended by the end of the race.
Paul Radisich finished in 5th position and Dean Canto finished in 16th position.
Both drivers are looking forward to a better result for races two and three on Sunday.