• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

Strong Battles a Feature of Exciting Phillip Island Round in 2018

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd reported drivers and teams love the Phillip Island circuit layout for its high-speed flowing turns and great facilities and the weekend was the scene of some epic battles.

"As always, the circuit looked a picture and while the early morning activities were disrupted somewhat by the foggy conditions, once the haze burnt off the weather stayed dry throughout the weekend," Brian said.

"Based on the season results leading up to the round, the new ZB Commodores were expected to continue to dominate, however, the Fords and the Nissans showed they are still a force to be reckoned with as the weekend unfolded.

GRM Team is Working Hard to Find the Perfect Setups – Brian Boyd

"Both Wilson Security Racing GRM cars reported similar issues that kept them out of the top times in the two practice sessions, although Garth Tander was tenth fastest in the first practice and improved his time in the second, but dropped a couple of spots."

Brian Boyd said James Golding and his team worked hard trying to strike the right settings but were not able to get the results they were looking for and James' times placed him well down the timesheets.

"Despite overnight changes to both cars, Garth and James were not able improve their positions in qualifying and found themselves 15th and 20th on the grid respectively for the 250 kilometre Saturday race," Brian said.

"Qualifying was marked by the outstanding time by Scott McLaughlin, who was five-tenths of a second faster than the next car, driven by Whincup.

"It was becoming clear that the Commodores would not have it all their way this round, with both DJRPR cars showing quick pace with good setups," Brian Boyd continued.

Strategies to Play a Role in the Saturday Race – Brian Boyd

"The Saturday race required two pit stops and a close eye on tyre wear, so once again strategies were to play a big role in the results."

Brian said Garth was away well and picked up two positions in the first lap before coming in for his first stop on lap 14, which was around the time the majority of the field decided to follow suit.

"Meanwhile, James had the misfortune to collide with DeSilvestro and found himself at the rear of the field and hampered by steering damage.

"Lap 31 saw both leaders, Whincup and McLaughlin, pit with Whincup first out and Scotty on his tail. Scotty looked the stronger of the two and on lap 41 he made his move up the inside of Whincup at turn 2 to take the lead and was never headed."

Brian said Garth made up a couple of positions mid-race, and held on to the 12th spot in a conga line of cars to the chequered flag, but James never recovered from his early hit and struggled with bent steering to come home in 24th place.

GRM team could be proud of their performances over the weekend – Brian Boyd

"Sunday's qualifying for the GRM team was much the same as the previous day and both Garth and James had trouble getting enough heat into the tyres for maximum grip," Mr. Boyd said.

"On a positive note, Garth showed improvement towards the end of the session with strong times in the first two sectors, but a brake lock in the third sector put paid to a time that would have had him near the front of the grid. At session end, Garth was 15th and James 25th."

Brian said both Wilson Security Racing GRM cars made good starts in the second 250 kilometre race and picked up spots early in the race.

"A Safety Car call was made on lap 8 and unfortunately both the #33 car and the #34 car had to double stack, which made a big difference to James' race position, going from 16th to 24th," he said.

"Garth meanwhile was travelling well and by race end he crossed the line in 10th place - a great effort given his circumstances and again showing he and the #33 car are not far off the mark with race pace.

"James also drove consistently to move up the order and come home in 18th place. Scott McLaughlin showed again he is master of this track and took a well-deserved second win after passing Reynolds by duplicating Saturday's pass on Whincup," Brian Boyd said.

Brian noted both Garth and James and the whole GRM team could be proud of their performances over the weekend as they strive to find those elusive fractions of a second.

"Certainly, they are working as hard as ever and hopefully some consistent strong results will come their way soon," Brian Boyd finished.

Current Standings

Drivers Championship:

Garth Tander 11th (up 1 place)
James Golding 25th (no change)

Teams Championship:

Wilson Security Racing GRM 8th (down 1 place)
The next Supercars round is at the Barbagallo circuit in Perth on 4-6 May, 2018 where they will be joined by the Super2 field for round 3 of their championship.
Go Team PAYCE!