V8 Supercars – SBR’s Darwin Dream A Nightmare

June 18, 2011

V8 Supercars

After a brilliant qualifying performance earlier in the day at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Stone Brother’s Racing’s (SBR) hopes of gracing the podium again were dashed after a series of unfortunate incidents.

Both Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade made the top ten shootout this afternoon, qualifying third and fifth respectively for the start of the 120km race. Alex Davison wasn’t so fortunate in qualifying, and had a tough job ahead of him starting the race in 24th place.

With the race underway, van Gisbergen made a great start, launching himself past Jamie Whincup into second place behind Ford compatriot Mark Winterbottom, and only relinquished his position during the first pitstop when he chose to take on four fresh tyres as opposed Winterbottom and Whincup’s two.

With van Gisbergen and his #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon still looking good in third place, he drove with patience and maturity to preserve his tyres for a stab at the leaders in the final laps – knowing too well they were on inferior rubber – but it wasn’t to be.

On lap 33, Slade was running in fifth place but a disastrous turn of events saw him lose power and pull to the side of the track. With Slade’s #47 Lucky 7 Racing machine sitting idle in a precarious position, the Safety Car was called until he managed to get his stricken car running again.

On the restart all hell broke loose – with Winterbottom, Whincup and Lee Holdsworth coming together, forcing van Gisbergen wide and essentially out of contention when he regained his place on the track.

All through this Davison was having a field day, carving his way through the pack up into 12th place – a redeeming drive after his disappointing qualifying performance – but his day too, soon turned to ruin when he speared off the circuit in the dying stages of the race.

SBR’s drivers set about making amends b ut ran out of laps, with van Gisbergen having to settle for seventh place, Davison 19th and Slade 21st.

The SBR Falcons return to the track tomorrow at 12.00 noon for a 20-minute Qualifying session, followed by the second and final race at 2.35pm (Central Australian Time). Tomorrow’s race will be a 200km event, with each competitor having to use one set of the softer compound ‘Sprint’ tyre as well as the harder ‘Control’ tyre, which will ensure that another exciting – and hopefully successful – day’s racing will be had by the SBR boys.

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
“Our first stint was great – we were catching Winterbottom and everything was looking good. We pitted for four tyres against the others who only took two on, so we knew that we would be strong in the latter stages of the race. I was probably lacking a little rear grip after the pitstop which affected our car speed but I had enough to stay with them. The restart after Tim’s incident was a debacle – there was so much erratic driving going on from blokes who should know better and unfortunately we got caught up in it.”

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
“I’m pretty angry with myself. We worked really hard to get through the field – we had a great car and it was looking after its tyres really well, so the end of the race held a lot of promise for us. With about five or so laps to go (Jason) Bargwanna made a move on me up the inside and I tried to out-brake him but left it too late and speared off. I’m disappointed for myself and more so the team – I threw a lot of good points away today. I’ll get over it pretty quickly though and come back out fighting tomorrow.”

Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47
“Another bad luck story for car #47 – just when things were looking good! The car wasn’t really one hundred percent today and I was using everything I had to keep myself in the top five. With my drama in the last few laps, it appears I accidently flicked off the master switch somehow and I lost all power – by the time I got going again it was pretty much all over. We can definitely improve the car tonight – Shane had some good speed today so there will be a few things we can learn from that and get back in the running again tomorrow.”

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