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Simona De Silvestro leads the Kelly crew in Perth Race One

The Kelly Racing crew has had a big day, and night, here at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway for our first race day of the weekend.

The whole team performed strongly during Practice Two this afternoon, consolidating on our pace during last night’s Practice One.

We gave our young gun Garry Jacobson a big pat on the back for putting the Nissan Altima in eleventh for the session, a huge improvement on what we’ve seen previously from the team’s first-year Supercars driver. Castrol’s Rick Kelly and Plus Fitness’s André Heimgartner had strong performances finishing seventh and eighth respectively. Simona De Silverstro claimed position fourteen for the session.

Rick and André’s top ten practice placings meant they weren’t required in Qualifying One and went straight into Q2, while Garry and Simona had to fight for a top five spot to progress into the second session. Garry Jacobson just missed out finishing sixth, and he started in sixteenth for the race, his best Supercars qualifying performance to date. Simona qualified seventeenth.

Unfortunately the pace started to fall away during Q2 and Rick and André struggled to replicate the speed they showed in practice. Rick reported a bit of understeer in his Castrol Racing car, while André felt the warmer track temps held back his Plus Fitness Nissan. André was our best qualifier in thirteenth, with Rick right behind in fourteenth.

The team got off to a great start during our first night race of the year with Rick gaining a couple of spots off the line, André holding strong and Garry getting a quick getaway.

Simona had a clutch issue and got off to a rocky start. Garry copped a hit from one of the Walkinshaw crew at the final turn on lap one which put him back a few spots however he was able to recover and regain track position.

Rick had a good battle with Anton De Pasquale, but ultimately got overtaken at turn one. That track position cost us in the pit stops, putting Rick in P15 for the remainder of the race. The good news for us was Simona got the jump on Rick with her Team Harvey Norman car and came in twelfth.

André Heimgartner finished up the race in seventeenth for Plus Fitness Racing and Garry Jacobson nineteenth for Racing.

The team now has a full race worth of data across four cars, so there is plenty we can look at to try and tune up the Nissan Altimas to go quicker tomorrow.

Kelly Racing Driver quotes

Simona De Silvestro, Team Harvey Norman « I didn’t have the best start because I had an issue with the clutch, but then we had good pace and the team did a really good job of getting me out of traffic with the pit stop timing and once we came back onto the track we were quite fast so that was really positive. Because we stopped quite early in the race we started to get a little nervous towards the end with tyre wear, however we were able to manage so it was a positive result. »

Rick Kelly, Castrol Racing  « We tried to make up some ground from our qualifying position, so we ended up getting a really good start on the high grip surface and got ourselves up to twelfth and had a big battle with De Pasquale. He got by which cost us a few seconds so when we pitted that loss of track position put us back a couple of spots. We would have loved to have got twelfth or thirteenth but we can take from today some learnings on where we need to work on the car and apply that for tomorrow. We were a little too vulnerable on the straights so we probably need to trim our aero a little. Simona did a great job with her car so we can take a lot from that as well. »

André Heimgartner, Plus Fitness Racing « It was a bit of a frustrating day, the car wasn’t too bad at the start of the day but for some reason, we lost that speed and struggled in qualifying and the race. We’ll just have to look forward to tomorrow and see what we can do to get the speed back in the car. There was just an overall lack of grip, whether it’s too stiff or too soft, we’ll work on it and hopefully go better tomorrow. »

Garry Jacobson, Racing « We had an ok start and maintained position but unfortunately got a bit of contact from one of the Walkinshaw cars and from there it was a bit of a battle to catch the pack. I used up my tyres doing that and had pretty good pace during that section of the race. As I was starting to catch those cars on older tyres we pitted and came back at them, but just didn’t quite have enough straight-line speed to attack especially around turn seven. I’ve got good speed off the corners but I just haven’t quite been able to maintain that pace down the straight. »

Press release Kelly Racing


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