V8 SUPERCARS - TOWNSVILLE RACE MEETING DELIVERS MIXED RESULTS FOR TEAM PAYCE
- Townsville, Northern Territory.
With 2016 being very close competition in the Supercars season, there was little difference in the performance of most of the field at Townsville for 2016
Tyre selection and pit strategies were deciding parameters in the race results over the two days of qualifying and racing in Townsville.
Team PAYCE was represented as usual by the #33 and #34 Volvo S60 drivers, Scott McLaughlin and James Moffat, while the Dunlop Series had three representatives in James Golding and Richard Muscat driving the #99 and #44 Commodores for Wilson Racing GRM and Macauley Jones in the #14 PAYCE Brad Jones Racing Commodore.
Standout over the weekend was the consistent performances of the three Dunlop drivers, with Macauley enjoying his best results to date in the category and mixing it with the two in-form Prodrive cars of LeBrocq and Jacobson.
Townsville Can Produce the Best Racing of the Season – Brian Boyd
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said the V8 teams look forward to the Townsville Supercars and Dunlop Series rounds each year as they produce some of the best racing of the championship.
"The weather is warm and the city throws out the welcome mat to everyone. This year was no exception and over the three days, locals and visitors were treated to some exciting racing in perfect weather conditions and some great hospitality and entertainment," Mr. Boyd said.
"I certainly enjoy coming to Townsville each year for this event to catch up with the teams and to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere that is created around the racing and the supporting entertainment," continued Brian Boyd.
The Townsville part street-part parklands circuit is 2.86 kilometres long with 13 corners and offers lots of passing opportunities.
V8 Supercars - GRM Hoping for Strong Results Again in Townsville for 2016 – Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said: "Garry Rogers and the team were hopeful of a good result, based on Scotty's performance in Townsville last year, when he put the #33 Volvo on pole for the second race after setting a blistering time to top the timesheets in the Top Ten Shootout.
"However, as everyone knows things change quickly in the sport from week to week, let alone a year," he said.
Friday's two 40 minute practice sessions of were used by the Wilson Security Racing GRM team to test the work and upgrades that had delivered to the cars since the last round and to set the balance for the cars in Townsville's sticky conditions. The best result from the two sessions was a 6th fastest by Scott in the afternoon session and a 14th by James.
"Garry and the GRM engineers and drivers were reasonably happy with the cars by the end of the sessions," Brian Boyd said.
"They had quite a big program to work through, so they gave it their priority."
Saturday's qualifier for the first race later in the day produced a promising top 10 result for James (9th), but a disappointing one for Scott who could manage no better than 18th. Scotty offered no excuses for his disappointing time.
"I must say it was an unusual result for Scotty, who usually shines in these sessions, but it was just one of those times when it didn't come together for him," offered Brian Boyd.
Mixed Results for Team Payce in Race 1 - That`s Motor Racing - Brian Boyd
As race 1 commenced, James was able to hold station for a hand full of laps before dropping just outside the top ten. By the 13th lap he was back into the top ten bracket and moving closer to the front runners, eventually working his way up to 6th position before falling back through the field after his pit stop on lap 17.
By lap 24, however, he had recovered and worked his way through the pack to 9th. James pitted on lap 35 for some quick ride height adjustments and going on to finish in 17th spot.
Luck was not with Scotty as he suffered a shunt to the left rear on the first lap that at first was thought to have caused damage to the suspension. As a result, when he pitted he drove straight into the garage to have the damage inspected, rather than stay on the pit apron.
After checking by the crew, the damage was limited to a flat tyre, but by then it was unfortunately too late to catch the field. Scott went on to finish the race two laps down in 24th place.
Clearing the Pack a Big Challenge – Brian Boyd
Scotty made a great start off the line and was well positioned to improve as the pack headed into turn 1, explained Brian Boyd.
"Unfortunately, when you have a pack of cars around you as Scott did, there is little you can do but go with the flow and hope you don't make a mistake or are a victim of someone else's mistake," offered Brian Boyd.
"Dale Wood tried to slip under Scotty but misjudged his move and made contact with the number 33 left rear wheel and Scotty had no choice but to bring the car in for a safety check as the damage felt worse than was to be the case."
"It was disappointing as I felt Scott would have had a very interesting charge through the field if he had got some clean air.
"James ran a good first half of the race well inside the top 10 until his tyres went off and he lost grip. An adjustment to the suspension helped a little but with the grip problem persisting he could not race with the cars around him."
"Sunday's qualifier was far more positive for Scott in the #33 Volvo and at one stage both he and Moff headed the times, which was great to see, even if short-lived.
"Scott had to settle for 6th fastest, which still gave him another chance to improve his grid position in the Top Ten Shootout. His run in the Top Ten Shootout was strong, improving one position on the grid." Mr. Boyd finished.
James Unlucky to be Hit - Brian Boyd Explains
James was unlucky to be hit towards the end of the session, which broke a steering arm on the #34 car. Brian Boyd explaines:
"With the remaining minutes of the session counting down, the crew did a great job in replacing the damaged arm, but time ran out for James to put in a serious flying lap and he had to settle for an earlier time when he wasn't really pushing and that put him 18th on times.
Brian Boyd said the team were in high spirits going into race 2, with Scotty up the pointy end and hopefully James' grip problems sorted.
As racing commenced, Scott made a clean start from the third row, tried unsuccessfully for an outside pass and settled into a strong 5th position and a short stint in 4th before pitting on lap 15. Pit strategies again played a defining role in the race, particularly when the racing was disrupted with two safety car periods.
GRM Team Made the Most of the Cards They Were Dealt - Brian Boyd
"James had one of his most impressive drives of late and succeeded in reaching the top 10 before the first round of pit stops got underway.
"Garry and the team were working to a plan of having James come in first around laps 15 to 20, depending on how the race was panning out," continued Brian Boyd.
"All went to plan with Scotty in on lap 15 and James in on lap 18.
"The final safety car period saw many of the field dive into the pit lane for fresh tyres, while the leaders took a punt on staying out to the end. Scott and James were in the group that stayed on their worn tyres.
"For Scott, the gamble paid off and he was rewarded with a well-deserved 5th place which was some consolation for Saturday's mishap.
"Unfortunately for James, who had been looking at a strong top 10 finish that had him in 7th place with just six laps to go, he was swept up by the fast-charging pack wearing fresh rubber and pushed down the order to finish 19th," Brian Boyd said.
Brian Boyd said undoubtedly Garry and the team would have wished for a better round, but to their credit, they worked hard all weekend, never gave up and made the most of the cards they were dealt.
"James was unlucky in that the positive changes made to the car over the weekend weren't able to be rewarded with better results," Mr. Boyd said.
The next round is the Ipswich SuperSprint on 22-24 July, where they are joined by round 5 of the Touring Car Masters.
Go Team PAYCE!