• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

2017 Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint Wrap Up - Records tumble in windy conditions at SMSP – Brian Boyd

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said it was a long break for Supercars fans in Sydney, but the wait was worth it with round nine at Sydney Motorsport Park producing some of the best racing this season over the weekend.

"With the advent of the super soft tyre, new records were also set, along with some surprise results," Mr. Boyd said.

"The blustery conditions that started early in the week continued through to Saturday evening and were to prove challenging for all drivers, particularly as the wind direction shifted from Friday to Saturday.

"At times the wind was gusting at over 80 kilometres an hour, but fortunately there was no sign of rain, which would have made it even more uncomfortable," Brian Boyd commented.

Windy Conditions Hamper Drivers – Brian Boyd

"The Wilson Security Racing GRM team arrived at the track mid-week after what they saw as a disappointing previous round at Ipswich. Friday as usual was practice day with two 45 minute sessions for the Supercars."

Brian Boyd said the wind was cold and blowing hard from the west.

"Drivers reported the conditions were terrible with the wind playing havoc through many of the corners and down the main straight," Mr. Boyd offered.

"Both Garth Tander in the # 33 Commodore and James Moffat in the #34 Commodore were off to a good start with respectable times in the early and mid-stages of the sessions.

"Unfortunately, as the last minutes kicked in and most teams switched to green tyres, they were not able to match the quick times posted by the competition," continued Brian Boyd.

"James was the quickest of the two in practice one with 15th fastest time while Garth was 23rd. Practice two saw some improvement by Garth who managed 18th fastest, but James' time went in the wrong direction to give him 20th on the timing sheets."

Both GRM Drivers Performed Well in Race Trim – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd noted the GRM team continued over the weekend to test various settings, but could not achieve the results they were seeking.

"As Garry Rogers said, "there is no 'magic bullet' to the problem" and the GRM engineers continue to make small but necessary changes in an effort to find those allusive tenths of a second in lap times.

"On a positive note, both drivers have performed well with the cars in race trim and this round was no exception," enthused Mr. Boyd.

Brian Boyd thought Saturday showed some improvement weatherwise, with the wind shifted to a south-westerly and not as strong as the previous day.

"The final practice in the morning saw little change for the GRM team in positions with Garth posting 15th fastest and James 20th," he said.

"Qualifying for race one later in the afternoon was its usual last five minute scramble and once again there was an issue of slow cars obstructing those on a fast lap. Winterbottom tangled with Garth as Garth exited pit lane and left both cars with damaged bodywork.

Drivers and Teams Call for Qualifying Change – Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd noted many drivers and their teams are calling for a change to qualifying sessions.

"There is no doubt in the hectic last minutes that now occur on a regular basis in qualifying with drivers scrambling for a clean run there is potential for serious injury to drivers and damage to cars," Brian continued.

"Scotty McLaughlin was dominant in qualifying as he has been in recent rounds and picked up the cheque for pole winner. Garth and James finished the session with 18th and 20th fastest times.

"Race one had both Team PAYCE drivers performing well and working their way through the field," said Brian Boyd of the drivers.

Brian Boyd noted this continues to be where both drivers and the team display strength to get the most out of the Commodores and as the race progressed #33 and #34 continued to pick up positions with good passing moves and good strategy by their engineers.

"By race end, Garth was up into the top 10 in 10th place and James 17th. James would likely have finished much further up the order but for the safety car period that did not favour him," Brian said.

An eventful incident with the resumption of the race after the safety car involving Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gisbergen had the crowd excited. Shane, in attempting to take the lead from Scotty, overlapped before the green light and then Scotty miscalculated a passing move at turn 2, contacting the #97 rear and sending it spinning. The final outcome from the stewards was a 33 second penalty for both drivers.

Brian Boyd said the best performance was undoubtedly Jamie Whincup who battled on with a crumpled bonnet and guard to come home in third place behind Mostert and the winner on the day, Fabian Coulthard.

Garth Tander's 2012 race lap record quickly fell by the wayside during the race with the first six cars breaking the record and Nick Percat best with a 1:30.5482 on lap 3.

Sunday Brings Cleaner Conditions – Brian Boyd

Sunday dawned with a clear sky and abated winds, much to the relief of all at the track.

Brian Boyd saw qualifying for the GRM team was similar to Saturday and once again the focus was on a good race car for both drivers that would hopefully give them some gains through the longer 200 kilometre race with its two mandatory pit stops.

"Scotty McLaughlin was on fire and topped the time for a second pole winner's cheque, making it 10 poles out of the past 11 sessions and 13 in total this season," Mr. Boyd said.

"James and Garth were side-by-side down the grid in 20th and 21st positions.

"Certainly not where they wanted to be and with a big job ahead of them to get through the field without mishap, commented Brian Boyd.

"By lap 11 when the safety car was deployed after Rick Kelly blew a tyre in spectacular fashion, Garth had already worked his way up to 15th place and James was close on his bumper.

"A subsequent double stacking in the GRM garage dropped James back down the order to 21st, but on a more positive note, Garth kept passing cars and moved up the order to 11th.

"The second pit stops for the GRM team went more smoothly and James was able to work his way back to a well-deserved 14th place by race end, while Garth found himself shuffled back a couple of spots before recovering to claim his 11th place at the chequered flag," Boyd continued.

#34 Commodore Excluded from the Results due to a Bodywork Infringement – Brian Boyd

"Unfortunately for James and the team, the #34 Commodore was subsequently excluded from the results due to a bodywork infringement.

"Whincup emerged the winner with Coulthard and Van Gisbergen filling the final podium spots. Whincup's win made him the greatest winner ever in the Supercars/ATTC history with 106 victories," noted Brian Boyd.

"Despite all the challenges thrown at the GRM team through the year, Garth still sits inside the top 10 in the Drivers Championship in 9th spot and James not far behind in 12th place.

"Mostert claimed the fastest lap of the race with a 1:30.1577 that eclipsed the record time set by Percat the previous day."

Brian Boyd said that on a positive note for the GRM team, Garth is still in the top 10 in the Drivers Championship due to his consistency and James is not far behind in 13th place.

"The team also retains its 4th spot in the Teams Championship, again with consistent race results.

"The GRM team will now look forward to an upcoming test day to try some more settings before embarking on the trio of endurance races, starting with the Sandown 500 on 15-17 September where Garth is the defending champion with Warren Luff," concluded Brian Boyd.

Current standings
Drivers Championship
Garth Tander9th
James Moffat13th
Teams Championship
Wilson Security GRM4th
Go Team PAYCE!