2018 Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint Wrap Up
The Ipswich SuperSprint delivered lots of exciting racing as was expected and apart from a brief shower on Saturday, the weather stayed sunny with some cloud cover through the weekend.
The track was in good shape having had some safety upgrades in the form of new catch fencing, new tyre barriers, improved sand traps and fresh red paint on the control tower.
For the Wilson Security Racing GRM team their fortunes appear to be taking a positive direction with both Garth and James giving consistent performances in both qualifying and the two races.
While they are not yet where they want to be, the team’s hard work is bringing positives and with the endurance races not far off, some podiums could be on the cards.
Track action for the Supercars got underway on Friday morning with the first practice session for Additional Drivers, that is, the co-drivers for the three rounds of endurance races coming up.
All were in attendance save for GRM’s Richard Muscat who was fulfilling an overseas GT racing commitment in Asia – in a Lamborghini no less, so who could blame him for not turning up.
It was left to Chris Pither from GRM and Macauley Jones from BJR to fly the flag for Team PAYCE and they logged some valuable track time and respectable lap times, mindful that the cars would be back on the circuit later in the day in the hands of the regular drivers.
The practice sessions showed just how close the times are these days, with just 45 hundreds of a second separating James from the top time in the first session, a similar gap in session two and only 28 hundreds of a second in the third session. Despite that, his best time only put him 10th fastest.
Qualifying on Saturday morning for the first of the two races saw Garth improving substantially over his practice times to book an 11th spot on the grid, while James was 19th, albeit only seven-tenths off the pole sitter, Scotty McLaughlin.
With the top times so close, strategy came to the fore in both races, Saturday’s race was all about tyre selection and degradation and Sunday’s race more of the same but also fuel loads.
Race one or race 19 of the championship was 120 kilometres and Garth made up two positions before he pitted on lap 19. Unfortunately, Garth’s car was beset with a couple of issues that pushed him down the order. First a fire in #33’s engine which extinguished fairly quickly and then a problem with one wheel at the pit stop. To his credit, Garth was able to return to the circuit and still come home in the same position he started.
James had a great start and quickly picked up a couple of positions before settling into a long battle with a couple of Nissans. He did well to finish 18th, confident he had good race pace for Sunday’s race. Scott McLaughlin came out on top for yet another win to consolidate his championship lead.
Sunday was a very fresh morning that developed into a typical warm Queensland winter’s day.
Sunday’s qualifier was much of a repeat of Saturday – Scotty was fastest and Garth was 11th again, less than half a second slower. James was 19th, just three-tenths down on Garth’s time.
The Wilson Security GRM team proudly displayed their indigenous livery for the final time this year with special guest, Auntie Hazel and her family invited to the grid for the grid walk.
Race two over 200 kilometres saw Garth and James off the blocks cleanly and by the end of lap one Garth was into the top 10 and moving forward. James did even better and improved four positions in that time. Shane van Gisbergen headed Scotty and that was where they finished. Meanwhile, Garth held his position in 8th after pitting and James was fighting off threats to hold onto 18th position.
The final pit cycle moved the GRM cars around but Garth was able to repeat Saturday’s performance and come home again in 11th with James just 10 seconds behind in 15th place, his best result this season.
Garry Rogers’ team has certainly improved the cars’ qualifying capabilities while maintaining race pace and it is showing in their results. They know too well the importance of qualifying so the next round in Sydney will be very interesting to say the least.
That all happens on 3-4 August when Sydney Motorsport Park hosts its first night race – how exciting.
Garth Tander 13th (up 1 spot)
James Golding 23th (up 1 spot)
Wilson Security Racing GRM 8th
CAMS PAYCE Formula 4
Most of the series young drivers had participated in the annual CAMS Academy camp on the Gold Coast just prior to the Ipswich meeting and by all accounts enjoyed two days of physiological and mental training presented by Fitness2Podium at the Bond University fitness facilities.
Fresh from that development program, the 10 young rookies were keen to apply some of that learning to the three CAMS PAYCE Formula 4 races supporting the Supercars round.
Saturday’s field lined up with Jayden Ojeda on pole. He won the race to the first corner and was able to establish a comfortable lead to take the chequered flag from Cameron Shields and Ryan Suhle. Most of the action was taking place back in the field with two cars leaving the track after an altercation.
Sunday’s races saw Jayden continue his dominance, taking out both races in convincing fashion.
Lachlan Hughes looked set for a good race starting off pole in the second race, but soon lost the lead to Ryan Suhle as Jayden was making his move through the field. On lap five, Jayden wrestled the lead from Suhle and was never challenged on his way to victory.
Another win in race three sealed a perfect weekend for Jayden, who took out the round.
CAMS PAYCE Formula 4 heads to Winton for the next round with the Shannons Nationals on 31 August.
1st Jayden Ojeda 177 pts
2nd Cameron Shields 152 pts
3rd Ryan Suhle 145 pts
Contact: Bill Smith 0412 446 058