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Supercars – Michael Caruso executes strong comeback in New Zealand

Michael Caruso has executed a strong comeback in the opening race of the Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park today.

The #23 Industrial Athlete Nissan qualified down in 17th after misjudging its run in a damp session.

Despite the setback, Caruso bolted through the field, eventually finishing 10th and giving him a confidence booster ahead of tomorrow’s 70 lap race.

Rick Kelly’s Castrol car was the fastest Nissan in qualifying, claiming 10th place, but a slow pit stop hampered his run. Kelly finished 16th.

Andre Heimgartner was also fast in qualifying, starting the race from 11th. His hopes of a top result on home soil were spoiled when he was forced to double stack behind Kelly’s delayed Nissan in first pit stop, putting him on the back foot and coming home 18th.

Simona De Silvestro qualified 26th after a gearbox-related issue forced her off the track, causing a red flag and saw her start from last. The Harvey Norman Nissan picked up as many as six places on the first lap, only to find herself at the back of the field again when double stacked in the first pit stop. De Silvestro finished 21st.

The final day of track action at the Auckland SuperSprint will see a 20 minute qualifying session, a Top 10 Shoot-out and another 70 lap race.

DRIVER QUOTES

#23 INDUSTRIAL ATHLETE MICHAEL CARUSO

« It was an awesome recovery, to be honest, » said Michael Caruso. « We miss-timed our last run in qualifying when it rained and didn’t get the most out of the car because it was damp. We knew we had qualified out of position, so to claw our way up seven positions and finish 10th in a pretty fair result. »

#15 CASTROL RACING RICK KELLY

« It was quite an eventful, and I’m very disappointed with where we ended up in the race, » said Rick Kelly. « We had a challenging qualifying session. I managed to get a lap late in the drizzle which put us in the top 10, so I was happy with that.  We had an issue in the pit stop, getting held in the air for some extra seconds. That just put us behind the eight ball. We had good pace on the cars around us, so we were kind of stuck. The positive is that we have reasonable pace and we can have another crack at it tomorrow. »

#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING ANDRE HEIMGARTNER

« It was pretty annoying. The double stacking kicked us, » said Andre Heimgartner. « I was reasonably happy with qualifying, and the pace was good during the race, but the double stacking stuffed our day. The positive is that there was some pace so we’ll try and convert that tomorrow. »

#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN SIMONA DE SILVESTRO

« We had an issue with the gearbox yesterday, and we had it again this morning in practice, and that’s why I crashed in qualifying – it was a frustrating lead-up, » said Simona De Silvestro. « Pace wise, it seems to be good. The double stacking really hurt us. I made a heap of spots on the first lap but the double stack put us right back where we started. We struggled a little bit trying to get passed some people, but we are in a better spot for tomorrow. »

Press release Nissan Motorsport

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