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Supercars – Kelly completes impressive recovery in Perth, Simona de Silvestro 15th

Nissan Motorsport has demonstrated impressive teamwork to recover from a challenging qualifying session during this afternoon’s hectic race at the Perth SuperSprint. The abrasive track surface at Barbagallo Raceway is known for causing severe tyre degradation, and that was exactly the case during this afternoon’s 120km event.

Rick Kelly completed an impressive recovery drive to cross the line in 14th position after a drama in qualifying necessitated an engine change ahead of the race. The Car 15 crew remarkably managed to complete the task in under 90 minutes. With Kelly lining up last on the grid, the team elected to complete an early stop on lap 16 to allow the Castrol Racing driver to gain clean air on track. After recording some impressive lap times and leap frogging most of the field, Kelly had worked his way up to as high as 7th. Expertly managing his tyres to the flag, Kelly finished Race 11 as the highest placed Nissan.

Simona De Silvestro started today’s 50 lap event from 15th, following yesterday’s practice pace elevating her straight into the second part of knock-out qualifying. The Team Harvey Norman entry was the leading Nissan on track for the early part of the race, as the Swiss driver battled away in the midfield. Pitting on lap 24, De Silvestro charged to the flag on fresher rubber to finish just behind Kelly.

Michael Caruso crossed the line in 20th after a difficult afternoon. The #23 Drive Racing entry had suffered a challenging qualifying session and lined up in the grid in 19th position. The team rolled the dice and elected to pit Caruso on lap 25, as one of the last of the one-stoppers. While the strategy didn’t pay off today, the team is confident it can improve tyre durability on Car 23 overnight.

Andre Heimgartner was unable to capitalize on the strong practice pace he had demonstrated earlier in the weekend, as the #7 Plus Fitness driver started this afternoon’s race from 23rd on the grid. After being caught up in some contact on the opening lap, Heimgartner completed his first pit stop on lap 20. On-going steering issues from earlier in the race ensured the 22-year-old battled his way to the flag in 25th

Sunday at the Perth SuperSprint consists of a fourth practice session ahead of a three-part knock-out qualifying to decide the grid for the afternoon’s 200km race.

DRIVER QUOTES RICK KELLY #15 CASTROL RACING : « It was a fun race. You have to react very quickly when you’re working your way from the back. We changed our strategy twice to try and capitalise on the position we were in. It compromised our tyres a little bit, but it was the right decision. George made great calls across the race. Our aim now is to do a good job in qualifying and demonstrate what we can do with this car speed when we start further up the order. Big thanks to the crew as well for doing an amazing job in-between qualifying and the race. To swap over an engine in such a short time in never easy and it illustrates the teamwork that is always going on behind the scenes here. » QUALIFYING: P26 RACE 11: P14

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO #78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN : « We didn’t get the best start but we had really good pace on the first stint. We pitted a bit early and that resulted in us getting stuck behind Reynolds a little bit. So all-in-all I think the car was good. We need to nail it a bit more and have a good one tomorrow. I’m actually pretty happy with the car, so there are just little things we want to work on. I don’t want to get it too much off-balance, so we’ll see. » QUALIFYING: P15 RACE 11: P15

MICHAEL CARUSO #23 DRIVE RACING : « The car was reasonable in qualifying but unfortunately just didn’t get the lap together. The car didn’t look after its rear tyres as well as we’d hoped, so this now means we’ve got a bit of thinking to do with how we approach tomorrow’s race. The biggest thing is that our tyre life was pretty bad during that race. We need to understand why that’s the case and have a look at what Rick’s car was like. We’ll learn from that and hopefully have a better package tomorrow. » QUALIFYING: P19 RACE 11: P20

ANDRE HEIMGARTNER #7 PLUS FITNESS RACING : « We didn’t maximize our qualifying and this meant we started further down the order that we wanted. I just got shoved wide at the start which didn’t help and then the car just wasn’t handling well. It was just a painful long race. We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow. I don’t know if the car was quite in the set-up window, as we were in a rush to the grid, but it’s an area of focus overnight. We’ll have to wait and see about what tomorrow brings. Hopefully it rains! » QUALIFYING: P23 RACE 11: P25

Press release Nissan Motorsport

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