V8 Supercars – Dumbrell fires again as V8 Supercar retirement looms‏

November 19, 2011

V8 Supercars

The early bird caught the worm when the retiring Paul Dumbrell held on through four practice sessions to continue his golden run towards stage left at today’s Norton 360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne.

Dumbrell’s stellar recent form continued less than a week after he claimed Armor All Pole Position in Tasmania when he was fastest again ahead of FPR team-mate Mark Winterbottom and Lucky Seven racing’s Tim Slade.

Championship leader and favourite Jamie Whincup was fifth behind Toll Holden Racing Teams’ James Courtney. Whincup’s chief rival Craig Lowndes was back in 14th on combined points.

Searing heat and strong winds hampered all day, particularly on the soft Dunlop tyres being used this weekend that wear like melting plastic.

Dumbrell claimed his very first career win at this event last year in his form surge. At that time he was on the verge of retiring and ultimately didn’t. Now he refuses his own inclination to maybe just give it one more year.

“It’s quite funny that I have come good in the past two years,” Dumbrell said.

“Since Queensland Raceway when I announced my retirement I didn’t really think too much of it. The Gold Coast was the first event that I started thinking about it being such a big event, lots of people and knowing you won’t be back there again.

‘It’s sad and a nervous time. I have been in motorsport 18 years from karting to V8s and it’s something I am walking away from. I ask myself if I am walking away too early and maybe I am. But I would much rather retire a year early than a year late.”

All agreed that using soft tyres for the whole weekend was an enormous challenge and might well make for varied results.

“It’s really tough out there. The soft tyre with the high winds … it’s really hard work,” Orccon Steel FPRs Winterbottom said.

Slade has been quick in practice a lot this year. But since his maiden podium at Queensland Raceway a few months back has not been in the running.

“My Friday Championship is looking good – a lot better than my Saturday or Sunday Championship. We have really struggled since Queensland Raceway with one thing in particular,” he said.

“Hopefully we can translate this speed into a good qualifying position tomorrow and race on. We go to tracks where you need good front grip and we don’t have it. Then you go to track where you don’t need it and it’s all good again.

“Everybody wants to win out there and we have been close. This is our best chance since Queensland Raceway so let’s see how it goes.”

Earlier Jason Bright pulled out of the event due to ongoing pain from his rib fracture and will be replaced by Andrew Jones. 

“I really thought I’d be able to give it a crack this weekend,” said Bright.

“I had some injections during the week which took some of the pain away, but there’s still pain now and I’m worried that even if I have the nerve blocks it could do more damage.” 

“There’s no guarantees the injections I would have had today were going to get me through the weekend, so I decided to pull out and give Andy a run and concentrate on getting better for Sydney in a couple of weeks time.”

Andrew Jones is no stranger to the #8 Team BOC Commodore, having co-driven with Bright at the recent L&H 500 Phillip Island and Bathurst 1000 events.

 

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