COLOSSAL WEEKEND OF RACING FOR TEAM PAYCE AT PHILLIP ISLAND
- Phillip Island, Victoria.
The 2016 Phillip Island rounds for V8 Supercars and the V8 Dunlop Series proved to be phenomenal for all five Team PAYCE drivers.
Coming into the 3rd round of the 2016 championship, all PAYCE backed drivers were confident of good results based on their recent performances.
But expectations were exceeded with a bag of wins, poles, a record lap, podiums and personal best performances between them across all five races.
V8 Supercars Wrap-up.
The Wilson Security Racing GRM (Cyan Racing) team has ardent memories of performances past at Phillip Island, but posted no wins since 2014. The first two rounds of this 2016 season have seen Scott turn in some close-to-podium finishes and James delivering some imposing times, so the team's optimism regarding the Phillip Island weekend was well founded.
As PAYCE'S Managing Director, Brian Boyd said: "If they were to break the current drought, this was likely to be the weekend and place."
The first practice session on Friday got off to an inconclusive start, with Garry Rogers' team focusing tightly on testing various car setups. Scott completed the first practice session with the 8th fastest time in the #33 Volvo. Scott's time gave little away of what was to come later in the day. James in the #34 Volvo was still on his steep learning curve and very satisfied with 13th fastest for the session.
The second practice session was more extreme and at one point, the two Volvos headed the times, being a great sight for the team and spectators. As P2 progressed, it took on the life of a qualifying session, with most cars pitting for new tyres as the clock wound down in an attempt to improve on their session times.
PAYCE Drivers Deliver Top Performances Under Pressure – Brian Boyd.
"Scott pulled another mighty effort out of his bag of tricks to not only take the fastest time, but a sensational new lap record," Brian Boyd said. "James also put in a great lap to fill 10th spot before the window closed."
"It was clear that Garry and the team had given Scott a top car for the weekend and barring incidents and mechanical issues, he was the man to beat over the weekend," added Brian Boyd.
Scott's mammoth efforts throughout the Friday practice sessions put everyone on notice that the Volvo S60 was back in the game and at the pointy end of the pace. As the short practice session on Saturday was affected by rain, the pressure was on him to maintain the new-found pace in the next to come qualifying session. As the qualifying times started to plunge, the Volvos were well up among the leaders. With just 32 seconds left in the qualifying session, Scott attacked the track with 100 per cent commitment to go to the top of the times.
Scott Snatches Pole in Final Qualifying Moments - Brian Boyd.
"As we saw last year and again this year at Symmons Plains, it is becoming a habit for Scott to snatch pole within minutes and sometimes seconds of qualifying ending, much to the delight of his crew and fans," Brian Boyd said.
James finished the session with his best qualifying result in the #34 Volvo since joining GRM. A determined qualifying result from James secured 8th spot on the grid for race 1.
Brian Boyd said: "So close were the times that less than one second separated the first 22 cars. One small error in braking or putting a wheel off the track took you from the front to the back in an instant."
Scott and James Deliver Amazing Drives for Race 1.
Race 1 saw Scott get one of his best race starts of late to lead the field into the first turn. Scott was never headed throughout the race, except for the compulsory pit stop cycle. Pit stops were completed by all teams up to lap 17. Beyond, Scott was firmly in the lead and never seriously challenged to the finish. James drove a great race to finish in 7th position after some hard-fought battles that showed he is well on the way to feeling comfortable in the Volvo.
Race 2 Brings Further Gains for GRM.
Sunday dawned with everyone in the GRM team jubilant about the change of fortunes. Qualifying for race 2 saw Scott initially top the board, only to be bumped down a few spots. With just four minutes of qualifying remaining, Scott was 4th and James 5th. Scott was not about to disappoint his team and supporters, thrashing the very last lap and putting the #33 Volvo back on pole by 1/100 sec. The second $1000 cheque for pole-sitter was most welcomed.
Race 2 and Scott got away well again, hotly pursued by Whincup on the outside as they went into turn 1. For a heart-stopping moment it looked like the two cars would collide, but Scott held his ground and Whincup was forced to take to the grass.
When Garry Rogers was questioned about Scott's refusal to yield he said: "No problem. You don't want the ones who give up and sook it!"
James made a rocket start behind them and slotted perfectly into 3rd spot. He was on a differing pit strategy to Scott and came in early to complete his first stop, pushing him down the field and into the midfield pack. Scott pitted on the tenth lap and the race was on to get him out before Whincup entered the main straight. A lightning pit stop by the GRM crew nearly came unstuck on exit, but Scott's race craft prevailed, putting himself in front of a slowing car in pit lane. He re-entered the race in front of Whincup with just a few seconds to spare, much to the relief of his crew. By lap 20, James was racing hard and back into the top 10 in 8th position.
After a smooth second pit stop for #33 on lap 22, Scott comfortably regained the lead once the second pit stop cycle had finished. The Safety Car was despatched on lap 35 which tightened the field, ultimately providing the very real prospect of dramatics for the remaining nine laps of racing.
Safety Car off and Scott got away with a clean jump with a buffer between himself and Whincup, although the gap was narrowing. Racing hard, Whincup misjudged coming onto the straight and left the track. Scott continued unchallenged to the chequered flag.
James now had sight of a top 10 finish in the #34 Volvo and was travelling well when he had an altercation that took him off-track, finally finishing in 15th spot after regaining several track positions.
A Perfect Weekend for Scott – Brian Boyd.
Scott's win sees him gain two positions on the leaderboard to 2nd place. James is in 20th place. The next round is the Perth SuperSprint on 6-8 May 2016.
Brian Boyd said it was a perfect weekend for Scott and a massive turnaround for the Wilson Security GRM team.
"Congratulations all round to the team for their tenacity and 'never say die' attitude," Mr. Boyd said.
"Despite a disappointing 2015 season, Garry and his team remained positive and clearly the hard work of late they have put in behind the scenes paid off this weekend," continued Brian Boyd.
James Doing a Fantastic Job – Brian Boyd.
"It was also fantastic to see that James in his new environment is getting to grips with the #34 Volvo and putting in some fast times and moving up the order," said Brian Boyd.
"The Volvos are back in the game and Scott's second spot on the leaderboard sends a clear message that he is a strong contender for the 2016 championship."
Go Team PAYCE!