Andre Heimgartner and Rick Kelly were the best of the Kelly Racing drivers as the team rolled out on the Albert Park circuit in qualifying for Races 3 and 4 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship today.
Plus Fitness Racing driver Heimgartner and Castrol Racing’s Kelly shared 15th and 17th respectively for the first qualifying session, before reversing that order for the second.
Team Harvey Norman driver Simona De Silvestro battled rear grip issues to finish 20th and 21st in the two qualifying sessions, while RABBLE.Club’s Garry Jacobson was 21st and 22nd as the Victorian rookie competes in his first Supercars event at the Melbourne street circuit.
Qualifying for Races 4 and 5 will be held tomorrow (1:50pm and 2:10pm local time), ahead of the first 25 lap race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 at 5:55pm.
Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing : “We were eighth after the first couple of practice runs, but as the track gripped up it has induced some problems with our car that are tricky to overcome in a one-lap shootout which we’ve effectively had in qualifying today,” said Rick Kelly. “The aero package that we’ve got on the car is presenting issues for us to overcome and understand, so we’ve just got to do that as fast as we can and adapt over the weekend. It’s the first time we’ve been on the soft tyre with the new setup, and although they’re small changes, they’re having a big influence on the handling of the car. All things considered it was a good first day on the soft tyre at a circuit like this with a new car to work through.”
Andre Heimgartner #7 Plus Fitness : “We have a lot of time to find in the car so overall we had a tough day combating that,” said Andre Heimgartner. “We’re disappointed where Rick and I have ended up in both qualifying sessions this afternoon but hopefully we can come up with something overnight and have a better day tomorrow.”
Simona De Silvestro #78 Team Harvey Norman : “We’ve struggled with extracting the maximum from the rear of the car today,” said Simona De Silvestro. “There are so many little things we need to get right to get a lap time out of the car so hopefully we can do that tomorrow. I think we’ll have a good race car as tyre degradation is going to be a pretty big factor, but we have two more qualifying sessions tomorrow so we’ll need to improve a bit to move further up the field.”
Garry Jacobson #3 RABBLE.Club : “I improved my lap time each session but the competition is so high at the moment that everyone else was improving as well,” said Garry Jacobson. “My engineers and I are starting to learn more about the difference in the car setup we’re running this weekend compared to Adelaide, from what we’ve run so far I think it suits me better. It’s an awesome circuit which is so fast and flowing, so trying to get a tyre to last the whole lap is the trickiest thing for me at the moment. “My first two sectors are not too bad compared to my team-mates but I need to work on the longer corners through Sector 3 when the tyre starts to fall off the cliff in terms of temperature and the goodness of the rubber. Overall we learnt a lot today and we’re looking forward to improving on that tomorrow.”
Press release Kelly Racing