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Supercars – Heimgartner leads Nissan charge

Nissan Motorsport has claimed a pair of Top 10 results to conclude the Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway this afternoon. The team showed impressive qualifying pace, with 3 Altimas starting inside the Top 10, and was able to manage tyre wear to deliver the promising result.

Andre Heimgartner has claimed his best finish since joining the Nissan squad at the start of the year, with the #7 Plus Fitness Racing driver crossing the line an impressive 8th after 200km of hard racing. The 22-year-old Kiwi qualified for this afternoon’s event in an impressive 4th, and he showed great maturity to conserve his tyres to the end of the race. Despite a small mistake on the final lap costing a few spots, Heimgartner has gone to further illustrate his huge potential.

Rick Kelly rolled the dice this afternoon with a four stop strategy resulting in a strong Top 10 finish. Qualifying in 5th on the grid, the #15 Castrol Racing driver dropped down the order during a safety car double-stack. However, opportunistic tyre conservation from across the weekend then allowed Kelly to pursue the audacious strategy. With his final stop occurring on lap 66, Kelly spent the remaining 17 laps utilizing superior rubber to finish in 10th place.

Simona De Silvestro has recorded her best-ever result in Supercars, as the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver crossed the line in 12th position. Starting from 21st on the grid, De Silvestro managed her tyres extremely well and kept out of any drama across the race. Sitting as high as 8th with only a few laps remaining, De Silvestro will aim to continue this momentum during the next round of the Championship.

Michael Caruso’s afternoon was determined within the first lap today, as the #23 Drive Racing entry suffered major steering damage through contact with Will Davison. Caruso had qualified a promising 8th on the grid, however he would go down several laps as the crew replaced the broken suspension components.

The next round of the Championship is the Winton SuperSprint, 18-20 May.

DRIVER QUOTES ANDRE HEIMGARTNER #7 PLUS FITNESS RACING : « Yeah, it was unfortunate the way it ended, but that’s racing. But it was good to be racing up the front and having some speed. We’ll take that confidence forward and hopefully be fast in the next few rounds. Dilan and I tried a lot of things over the weekend and we think we hit on a good direction. So Winton will be a good place to keep making progress. » QUALIFYING: P4 RACE 12: P8

RICK KELLY #15 CASTROL RACING : « It’s a good result considering where we were after that double stack early on. We qualified right up there but Andre obviously did an even better job than us and got in front. So that just means you have to wait in the pit lane and that put us back in the pack and then we had to battle forward from there. I think we were 15th or 16th at that point. We made up 5 spots and it was as good as we could do on the day. It’s unfortunate, we had better car pace then 10th today and 15th yesterday but the double stack and then the engine change in qualifying. » QUALIFYING: P5 RACE 12: P10

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO #78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN : « We kind of messed up qualifying a little bit, so we started way back and finishing 12th I think is pretty good. Strategy wise, it looks like what Rick did was quite quick, so maybe that would have been a little bit better. But I think we recovered quite well from where we started. The car was really good though, so I’m really quite happy with that. It just shows that Chris and I are starting to get it and starting to work in the right direction. It’s cool to see. I know Winton really well, so hopefully we can continue that at the next one. » QUALIFYING: P21 RACE 11: P12

MICHAEL CARUSO #23 DRIVE RACING : « Yeah look, the boys did a fantastic job, from yesterday. We qualified 8th doing it the hard was coming though from qualifying one all the way from Q3. So can’t fault them there, but unfortunately in the race I made a move up the inside of Will Davison and he just shut the door and it ripped the front end out of the car. So disappointing, considering I think we had a good car and looking at how the race ended up it could have gone anywhere. So unfortunately this is one to forget, but luckily in two weeks’ time we go to Winton. » QUALIFYING: P8 RACE 12: P26

Press release Nissan Motorsport

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