• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

Darwin delivers excitement and good performances for Team PAYCE

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said Darwin turned on some great weather and delivered some of the best racing this year across a number of categories, including Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup and Touring Car Masters.

"Team PAYCE drivers and cars featured prominently and overall enjoyed a very successful meeting," Mr. Boyd said.

"Everyone agrees the Hidden Valley circuit is one of the best for viewing the racing and the enthusiastic locals and visitors once again turned out in big numbers to enjoy the event."

Wilson Security Racing GRM Supercars Team Arrives at Hidden Valley with High Hopes – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd said the Wilson Security Racing GRM team arrived at the Hidden Valley circuit eager to put its most recent development work to the test.

"The team had spent a very productive day at Winton earlier in the month and had high hopes that the results on the day would build on the continuing development progress they have made through the year," Brian Boyd said.

"Coincidently, the premier touring car series has been coming to Darwin for 20 years and at the first meeting Garth Tander drove for the Garry Rogers team. Fast forward 20 years and Garth is back with the same team boss – this time in the #33 Holden Commodore.!"

Special Indigenous Design on the cars for Hidden Valley – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd said the GRM team sported a special indigenous design on the cars and apparel to mark this month's National Reconciliation Week and next month's National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee Week.

The two lead drivers, along with Garry and Barry Rogers, attended the launch of Wilson Security's Reconciliation Action Plan at the Charles Darwin University," Brian Boyd explained.

"Our sponsor partner's plan aims to guide young indigenous people towards a satisfying and rewarding career path," continued Mr. Boyd.

Racing Action got Underway on Friday with Winton Test Data in Hand– Brian Boyd

The racing action got underway on Friday with two 45 minute practice sessions and the team was keen to see how the changes incorporated into the cars after the Winton test day would pan out.

Brian Boyd said both drivers were reasonably happy with the sessions, with Garth posting 8th fastest in session 1 and James in the #33 car just 5/10ths off the pace, but in 17th spot.

"James improved massively in session 2, jumping up 10 positions to be 7th fastest, while Garth did not do a run on green tyres which reflected in his times, finishing 25th. "The good news was that the GRM team felt they had made progress develop-wise, but so had many of the other teams," offered Mr. Boyd.

Saturday Practice Followed by a Short Qualifying Session – Brian Boyd

Saturday started with a final practice session, followed by a short qualifying session.

Brian Boyd said both drivers improved on their times in practice along with most of the field, due most likely to the more favourable and cooler conditions compared to Saturday's runs.

"James was the better of the two drivers in this practice session with a 10th fastest time to Garth's 15th.

"Qualifying was disappointing for the team with James locked in to the 13th spot on the grid while Garth was well back in the pack in 18th," Brian Boyd continued.

Race 1 of 120 KM with 1 Mandatory Pit Stop – Brian Boyd

Race 1 was over 120 kilometres with a minimum of one pit stop required.

"As has been the case throughout the season, the timing of the pit stops is a critical one, with the opportunity to make ground if the strategies work in your favour," Brian Boyd said.

"James bogged down off the line and was quickly overtaken by a bunch of cars. He went to 20th before recovering a couple of positions to get back to 17th by the end of lap 1.

"Garth on the other hand made a good start and was able to stay out of trouble and pass seven cars before the end of the first lap. After pitting on lap 9 as a good strategy decision, James worked his way up to a top 10 position in 9th place with Garth just a couple of spots behind in 13th," Mr. Boyd explained.

"Unfortunately for Garth he was the victim of a charge into a turn by Davidson that didn't come off and as a result the #33 car of Garth's suffered a bent steering arm that was to have a flow-on effect a couple of laps later when Garth tangled with Van Gisbergen and speared off the track.

Garth was forced to pit for a quick check and tyre replacement and was out of contention for a good result, finishing 26th," Brian Boyd delivered.

"Meanwhile James was having a strong run and holding onto his 9th spot until race end and also was credited with a new Supercars lap record, which confirmed the #34 car had the race pace at this circuit and could match it with the leaders."

Coulthard went on to win from Scott McLaughlin with Brad Jones Racing's Nick Percat third.

The Team were Looking Forward to Sunday – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd said the GRM team were looking forward to Sunday based on James' performance the day before and they weren't disappointed.

"James was also celebrating his 33rd birthday and soon showed he was on track to better the previous day's result," he said. "He was quickly into the top 10 qualifiers and held on to the 6th spot as he lined up for the top 10 Shootout.

"Garth and the team could not quite hit the right combination and qualified 15th, although just half a second off the quickest time. James then went in to put in a great drive in the Shootout to jump three more spots and put the #34 Commodore on the second row of the grid – his best performance to date in the new car," enthused Brian Boyd.

Race 2 of 200 KM with 2 Mandatory Pit Stops – Brian Boyd

Race 2 was over the longer 200 kilometres or 70 laps and required a minimum of two pit stops and 120 litres of fuel to be put into the cars during the race.

Brian Boyd said that off the start both the #33 and #34 cars dropped positions to be 6th (James) and 22nd (Garth) by the end of lap 1.

"Garth took an early pit stop on lap 2 to try to gain clear air and get away from the pack and not risk altercations. James took his first stop on lap 17 and held his position until his second pit stop on lap 34," Mr. Boyd explained.

"Lap 58 was to see James' good day come to an end with a tyre failure while holding down 7th spot. Garth pressed on and to his credit came home to finish 16th, while a disappointed James finished 25th.

"Congratulations to Scotty McLaughlin on his convincing win from Whincup and Van Gisbergen," Brian Boyd said.

A Great Job by Team PAYCE Member, Macauley Jones - Brian Boyd

"Mention should be made of the great job Team PAYCE member, Macauley Jones did in the Brad Jones Racing team over the weekend, competing in his second round of Supercars as a wildcard entry," Mr. Boyd enthused.

"Jumping from the Super2 series is a big challenge and he acquitted himself well despite being in some rough company at times. He brought the #4 Commodore home in 24th place in both races and showed his maturity and skill in mixing it with the best in the touring car series.

"No doubt the experience has been invaluable and will give him added confidence when he participates in the enduros in the coming months," concluded Brian Boyd.

The Weekend had lots of Positives for the Team – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd said for the Wilson Security Racing GRM team, the weekend had lots of positives.

"James' car in particular had great pace and finally found qualifying speed as well. Garth's times weren't that far off either and the 'never say die' attitude of the whole team will surely pay off throughout the balance of the season.

"Both cars look especially strong as the enduro season approaches. With three rounds to go before Sandown 500, I imagine the team will be keen to analyse the results from Darwin and keep chasing those championship points," Brian Boyd concluded.

The next Supercars round is the Townsville 400 on 4-7 July.

Go Team PAYCE!