CROWNBET DARWIN TRIPLE CROWN 2018 - V8 SUPERCARS WRAP UP
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
Action-Packed Battles and Great Recoveries Feature - Brian Boyd Wrap Up Report
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said that once again Darwin turned on some magnificent weather for this year's round and the racing in all categories saw some fantastic duels, new records set and a few surprise results.
"While there were some disappointments for a number of teams due to incidents, there were some well-deserved results for others, including several podiums for Team PAYCE members," Brian said.
Team PAYCE drivers battled it out in three categories – Supercars (Garth Tander, James Golding and Macauley Jones), Porsche Carrera Cup (David Wall, James Moffat and Dale Wood) and Touring Car Masters (John Bowe).
Virgin Australia Supercars - Temperature, Track Conditions and Tyre Wear the Biggest Challenge – Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said that all Team PAYCE drivers were familiar with the track, although for James Golding and Macauley Jones it was their first time at the circuit in a fully-fledged Supercar.
"While the practice times set by the GRM team were respectable but not near the top of the timesheets, the sessions were put to good use trialling different settings in an effort to find those elusive tenths of a second.
"Unfortunately for Brad Jones Racing's Macauley Jones, while sitting in 13th fastest time slot in practice three, he lost the rear at turn 10 and with little room to recover backed the # 4 Commodore into the tyre barrier which resulted in a big repair job for his crew before he was able to start the qualifying session," Boyd continued.
Brian said one of the biggest challenges is to come up with settings that work for both qualifying and the race itself, while allowing for all the changing factors such as temperature, track conditions and tyre wear.
"Without a good qualifying time it becomes a nearly impossible task to get through the field, especially in the shorter sprint races," Boyd offered.
"Garth's 13th fastest time in practice three on Saturday morning was a positive indication that Garth's pit crew were on the right track with an improved set up.
"He backed that up with another 13th fastest in the first qualifying session that placed him mid pack for the first race. James was 21st on the grid and Macauley was 25th after a mammoth effort to repair the #4 Commodore."
Brian Boyd said the margins in the first qualifying session were small – just nine-tenths of a second separating the whole field in what is has consistently been the case through the season.
"If Garth had been one-tenth of a second faster he would have gained six positions and if James had been just three-tenths of a second faster he would have been beside him on the grid, well inside the top ten," Brian said.
"David Reynolds led the race one field away from pole, but the best start came from Garth who took every opportunity and found himself in 9th place within half a lap.
Late Pit Stop Pays Dividends for GRM – Brian Boyd
"Back in the GRM camp, the decision was taken to leave the #33 car out when most of the field were coming in for their mandatory stop.
"A good call as when he did finally pit on lap 32 he was able to pick up the 9th spot again on returning to the track and have the advantage of much fresher tyres to take him to the end," Brian Boyd reported.
"This allowed him to pull in the likes of Lowndes, Whincup and Kelly and pick them off with ease and finish in 5th place."
Brian said one could only speculate what might have been if the race went for another five laps, but with the pace of the #33 car it would almost certainly have been a podium result and even a win – if only!
"No such luck for James or Macauley who fought hard inside the pack near the rear to improve several positions before being caught up in incidents that resulted in a 25th place for James and a DNF for Macauley.
"The GRM team were buoyed by Garth's strong run on Saturday and were hopeful of a similar performance in Sunday's qualifier for grid positions and the Top Ten Shootout."
Brian Boyd said Garth did not disappoint and although he probably felt the pressure he was 8th fastest which gave him a comfortable spot in the Top Ten Shootout where he improved two positions to start 6th on the grid.
"James was just six-tenths of a second off the pole time, but found himself back in 23rd spot. Macauley was two spots back in 25th," Brian said.
"As the field blasted away for the 200 kilometre race, David Reynolds pulled off the move of the weekend with a run down the outside to take the lead into turn one," Brian said.
"Starting on the third row, Garth was not far behind Reynolds and for a moment it looked like he would follow him into the corner, but then decided to ease up and let Scott McLaughlin by.
Strategies Deliver Two Top 10 Finishes for Garth Tander and GRM– Brian Boyd
"Saturday's race showed just how important strategies would be and with two mandatory stops," Brian reflected.
"The plan initially was to again run Garth longer than most of the field, but then the call was made to bring him in early on lap 19 and then on lap 37. On re-joining the field for the second time, the #33 Commodore was in 6th place but with some on fresher tyres behind.
"To his credit, Garth only dropped one spot after a safety car intervention before coming home in 7th place for his second top ten finish of the weekend," Brian Boyd said.
"James was caught up in an altercation with Macauley and Blanchard on lap one that saw all three cars heading for the infield and then battling for the last few positions till race end.
"James finished 22nd and Macauley 24th. Reynolds and the Erebus team were the victors on this occasion and worthy ones given David's brave start and for keeping McLaughlin and Van Whincup at bay throughout the race."
Brian said the Wilson Security Racing GRM team could be pleased with the weekend as it showed that the hard yards and long hours they are putting into the cars appears to be reaping rewards.
"The Westpac Townsville 400 is next on the championship trail and it is a track that both GRM drivers like and where they have performed well in the past," he said.
|Garth Tander||13th (up one place)|
|James Golding||26th (no change)|
|Wilson Security Racing GRM||9th (no change)|
Go Team PAYCE!