2018 WATPAC TOWNSVILLE 400 – WRAP UP WITH BRIAN BOYD
Townsville turns on the warm weather and action-packed racing
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said Townsville once again put out the welcome mat to all motorsport teams and fans for the 10th running of the Virgin Australia Supercars round in North Queensland, round four of Super2.
"And, as an added bonus, the PAYNTER DIXON Touring Car Masters teams were in town for their inaugural appearance at the circuit," Brian said.
"The weather over the three days was fantastic, all but for a few drops of rain that did not affect the racing or the outdoor activities.
"The two big opening events for the whole community – the transporter parade through the streets and the drivers' meet and greet autograph session at Strand Park - were hugely supported and set the tone for another memorable visit to the city."
Brian Boyd said that for the PAYCE and PAYNTER DIXON supported teams, it was a weekend of highs and lows, with Chris Pither's win in Super2 along with John Bowe reclaiming the championship lead the highlight.
"Macauley Jones' exit from both Super2 races while comfortably leading was the biggest disappointment for the BJR team," Brian said.
Virgin Australia Supercars - GRM team put in a big effort – Brian Boyd
Brian said that following Darwin, the Wilson Security Racing GRM team put in a big effort back in the workshop to capitalise on the progress made with the #33 and #34 Commodores at that round.
"Garth's fifth and seventh results in Darwin and a start in the Top Ten Shootout were especially heartening," he said.
"The hope was that the team had turned the corner with both good qualifying speed to match good race pace. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case over the weekend and they struggled to achieve the result they wanted.
"The team was disappointed with the opening practice times that had them well down the order and unfortunately that did not change in qualifying," Brian Boyd continued.
"Their practice and qualifying times were not that distant from the leading times, but with just tenths and sometimes only hundredths of a second separating several places this season, everything needs to come together in these sessions to book a top spot on the grid."
Brian said that when the field lined up for race one over 70 laps, Garth was 15th on the grid and James 24th.
"Garth had his work cut out, as did James, and his recent successes with quick starts and weaving his way through the field was again to be tested," he said.
"After making up four positions in just the first lap, Garth and Courtney had a coming together when contesting a corner. The #33 Commodore was wounded to the extent that Garth had to fight hard to defend his position from there on when he might otherwise be on the charge.
"To add to the team's disappointment, Garth received a post-race 15 seconds penalty for the incident, which moved him back from a 16th place finish to 21st."
Brian Boyd said James fared better and had one of his best starts all season that gained him seven positions in just the first lap, which put him in the thick of the pack where he was able to hold his own and come home with a good result, given his circumstances, with a 17th placing.
"Congratulations to Jamie Whincup on a fine return to the winner's circle ahead of Van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin.
"For Sunday's qualifier, the team took a calculated gamble on the setups in an effort to improve on the previous day, but unfortunately that appeared to take them in the wrong direction.
"Starting the feature race on Sunday from the rear was not what they wanted and the situation was not helped when Garth and Stanaway collided on the opening lap. Garth was forced to take a 15 second penalty at the first pit stop, which later put him a lap down as pit stops were taken by the field. He ultimately finished 19th," Brian Boyd added.
"James repeated his good start off the line and reeled six cars in by the end of lap one. He then settled into a battle with several experienced drivers to come home with a season-best result in 16th place."
Brian Boyd said that as the season progresses, James is gaining valuable experience and lessons battling against the best touring car drivers in the game and to his credit is holding his own and earning their respect.
"Congratulations to Shane Van Gisbergen on a strong win against his team mate, Jamie Whincup, with Scott McLaughlin making up lots of ground with good pit strategy to finish third," he said.
"With the season now at the halfway mark, no one driver is dominating, although Scott McLaughlin still holds a commanding lead in the championship.
"The remaining rounds, including the endurance races, will continue to be hotly contested and the big winners will be the fans who are in for some of the best touring car racing we have seen of late," Brian Boyd added.
The next round for Supercars is the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint at the Queensland Raceway on 20-22 July, 2018.
Go Team PAYCE!