• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

Turnaround fortunes the highlight of Perth round

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said the Perth round of Supercars was all about tyre management and pit strategies and as it turned out that led to some surprise results, albeit with a bit of luck thrown in for good measure.

Abrasive Surface of the Barbagallo Takes a Toll – Brian Boyd

"Unfortunately, none of that luck found its way into the GRM garages, despite all the hard work by the team in the lead up to the round and then at the circuit," he said.

"The abrasive surface of the Barbagallo track ripped into the super soft tyres and both practice and qualifying was somewhat of a lottery with limited opportunities to clock a best time.

"The good news is that by the time Supercars next visits in 2019, the track will have been re-surfaced, so its characteristics will change and all the teams will start with a clean sheet."

Brian Boyd said the trial qualifying system that debuted in Tasmania once again proved to be popular, especially with the fans who appreciated the added action and drama on-track.

"The three-part format will now be analysed to see if it will be extended to other rounds. It certainly seems to suit the supersprint rounds, but remains to be seen if it will see be introduced at Bathurst and other rounds where the top ten shootouts have proven to be popular.

Friday Practice Sessions and Qualifying a Battle with Tyre Balance – Brian Boyd

"The two practice sessions on Friday were a disappointment for the Wilson Security Racing GRM team, although Garth in the #33 Commodore did give the team some early hope in the first session with 11th fastest time.

"However, after that neither Garth nor James in the #34 Commodore could get the performance they were looking for and by Friday afternoon they were at the wrong end of the times. Getting the tyres to work and the balance of the cars right appeared to be the main challenge," Brian Boyd said.

"Qualifying was equally disappointing and Garth found himself 20th on the grid for Saturday's race, while James was 22nd. Scott McLaughlin continued his outstanding form from the previous round and took yet another pole."

Saturday's Race was Hard Going – Brian Boyd

Brian said Saturday's race was hard going for both of the PAYCE and Paynter Dixon supported cars and they were not able to make much of an impression on the field, with Garth finishing one spot up from his grid position, while James had to settle for no gain in finishing 22nd.

"Scott McLaughlin continued his winning streak to come home the winner, indicating the DJRTP team is still very much in contention for this year's championship.

"The GRM drivers and engineers were not giving up and spent Saturday night dissecting the data, with the hope their fortunes would change on Sunday," Brian Boyd said.

Sunday Track Conditions Changed from the Previous Day – Brian Boyd

"Sunday was essentially the same format as Saturday, with all teams looking to set a good practice time to get a free pass into the second qualifying session and thereby conserving tyres.

"To add to the challenge, the track conditions had changed from the previous day with some scattered showers falling, although not while the Supercars were on track.

"To the surprise of many, some of the big names missed the cut, but the GRM team were chuffed with James' times in practice across all three sectors that placed him 10th on the timesheets.

Brian Boyd said that Garth had no such fortune and on his fast lap when he gambled on his tyres in anticipation of a good time and had to abort when he was baulked by a slower car and found himself last on the timesheets.

"Unfortunately, James was not able to repeat his good practice time in the second qualifying time and was relegated down the order to be 16th on the grid for the 83 lap race," Brian said.

Race 2 will stay in People's Memories – Brian Boyd

"The grid line-up for race two was a surprise to everyone, not because the triple eight cars of Van Gisbergen and Whincup were on the front row, but because Scott McLaughlin was way back in an unaccustomed 19th spot and Lowndes joining Garth at the very rear of the field."

Brian said the race itself was one that will stay in people's memories for a long time, mainly for the charge by McLaughlin through the field to make it to the front and take the chequered flag for his second win of the weekend, making it four on the trot.

"Nearly as impressive was Lowndes third place from the rear of the field after dodging the melee that occurred towards the back, especially in the opening laps," Brian said.

"James in the #34 Commodore was never going to recover from two incidents that left the front of his car re-arranged on the opening lap and then a locked front brake that took him off into the sand trap, which then triggered a Safety Car.

"Initially, it looked like Garth had collided with James and had contributed to his off-track beaching, but closer examination of various footages showed that did not happen and Garth was in the clear with the team," Brian explained.

"The appearance of the Safety Car sent most of the field into the pits and for some who were forced to double stack, it meant a loss of position.

"Some teams were able to get away with three stops with good tyre management, while those that had to make the extra stop paid the price.

"In a race that saw five incidents investigated by the stewards it was remarkable that all were seen as 'racing' incidents and no penalties were dished out.

"Congratulations to Scotty on what he agreed was probably his best drive ever to come home first and another good result for Erebus with Reynolds second – although he very nearly came unstuck on the final corner."

Brian said the Wilson Security Racing GRM team were understandably disappointed with the weekend, but Garry was the first to acknowledge their hard work and positive outlook.

The next round is at Winton on 18-20 May with the Touring Car Masters round three also on the program.

Current Standings

Drivers Championship:

Garth Tander 14th (down three spots)
James Golding 25th (no change)

Teams Championship:

Wilson Security Racing GRM 8th (down 1 place)
Go Team PAYCE!