André Heimgartner has held on in the final race of the weekend in Darwin to finish eleventh after a big improvement on yesterday’s performance. André qualified fourteenth in the #7 Plus Fitness Racing Nissan and was able to move up to eleventh thanks to an aggressive pit stop strategy from the team. In the closing laps of the race Winterbottom was closing the gap on fresher tyres, but André was able to finish strong and hang onto P11.
Rick Kelly had a tough day in the #15 Castrol Racing car. The team had a positive qualifying and made it through to the Top Ten Shootout where Rick claimed ninth position. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the race pace required to stick with the top ten and dropped down to sixteenth spot.
Race Two was a battle for Simona De Silvestro in the #78 Team Harvey Norman entry. An unfortunate incident unfolded between Simona, teammate Garry Jacobson and Nick Percat in the opening laps which resulted in Garry going off the track.
Garry was able to continue in the race but struggled to replicate the same tyre life that gave him such a positive race result yesterday and reported front end vibration under brakes.
The team will regroup once back in Melbourne and prepare to head to Townsville for the next event.
André Heimgartner, #7 Plus Fitness Racing
“Overall I suppose we had a solid day but we really would have liked to have been a little further up, we just struggled with pace in the first couple of stints and we tuned it up for the last one but it was a bit too late by then. The ride height change in the second stop really helped, it was pretty tough in the end with Frosty and with the tyres going away my car was struggling in a lot of areas but we just managed to get the drive out of the essential corners that we needed and I managed to keep him off which is good. It was nice to finish eleventh not twelfth.”
Rick Kelly, #15 Castrol Racing
From start to finish it was an extremely tough weekend for us with the stuff that happened yesterday and got done for and then today we had a decent run in qualifying, the shootout didn’t really suit us with timing which is fine but we knew by lap two in the race that we were in struggle city with the car. We just had bulk understeer into the corners which made us extremely vulnerable so after the pit stop we got pummelled a little bit and lost a few spots so it was just about trying to survive until the end. The unfortunate thing is we had a good race car yesterday and we didn’t today, yesterday we weren’t able to race with it because of the circumstances we were put in and today we had a decent position to start with and didn’t have the car to make use of it.”
Simona De Silvestro, #78 Team Harvey Norman
“Unfortunately not the best race for us, early on Percat hit me from behind and sent me into Garry and put him off the track and that was really it I guess. Pretty disappointing. From there we tried a few things with strategy to try and pick up the pace and yeah it wasn’t really where we wanted to finish.”
Garry Jacobson, #3 Rabble.club Racing
“After the unfortunate incident of Nick Percat punting Simona into me it was just about conserving the tyre. The first and second set handled the conditions quite well but when I came out for the third run I had a bit of a vibration and then the tyres faded away quite quickly. I personally think we made good gains with our tyre life yesterday but we need to look at what happened with that last set of tyres today. I still take away a lot of positives from this weekend, having my best Supercars result as a rookie at this track that I hadn’t raced at before is a real positive and a step in the right direction.”
Press release Kelly Racing