• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

Championship title still alive after wet Sunday 'no race'

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd says the two races that made up the Gold Coast round this year could have been a major deciding factor for the 2018 Drivers Championship, but after the 300 kilometre race on Sunday was stopped following torrential rain and finally declared a 'no race', little has changed for the two top contenders.

"Despite neither Scott McLaughlin nor Shane van Gisbergen figuring in the podium finishes in Saturday's race, the good news for Scott was he re-took the lead from Shane, albeit by only 14 points," Brian Boyd said.

"The only other drivers in contention for the championship - at least mathematically - are Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, but as they are more than 400 points in arrears, it's highly unlikely they can get up at this point with just two rounds to go.

"The two primary drivers flying the flag for PAYCE and Paynter Dixon, Garth Tander and James Golding, remain 12th and 21st respectively in the championship."

The Shorter Friday Practice Sessions Prove to be Somewhat Hectic – Brian Boyd

Brian said practice on Friday proved to be somewhat hectic, as although there were three sessions, each was for only 30 minutes long and one was for co-drivers only.

"Usually, there is at least one lengthy session to give teams more time to play around with settings," Mr. Boyd said.

"As practice one got underway, it was clear grip would be a problem until more rubber was down. Drivers were wiping out rear wing mirrors right and left, and unfortunately James Golding in the #34 Wilson Security Racing GRM Commodore was the first to come to grief in a big way with the unforgiving barriers.

"The car suffered damage to all four corners and brought out a red flag until #34 was transported back to the GRM pit for assessment.

"It was out of the question to have it ready for Richard Muscat to take part in the next session for co-drivers, but the pit crew performed a miracle to have the car looking new for the final session late in the afternoon.

"Meanwhile, Garth Tander's run in the #33 Commodore in practice one was uneventful, and his only attempt at a fast lap on green tyres was aborted when James crashed out."

Brian said that following the final Friday practice, the #33 and #34 cars were 21st and 22nd, but the team was confident of improving as the weekend progressed.

Both GRM Cars Improve for the Second Session - Brian Boyd

"Qualifying for Saturday's 300 kilometre race saw an improvement in both GRM cars' times, but unfortunately most other teams had also found more speed. Garth time put the # 33 car 19th on the grid, while James had the #34 car in 21st position on the grid.

"Garry elected to start the race with both co-drivers, as did the rest of the field save for Lowndes who looked to take advantage of the lesser experienced field to move up from 20th after a grid penalty.

"As the race progressed and the pit window opened up, the order became scrambled and when Chris Pither first pitted he was 12th and by the time Garth jumped in and made up a couple of positions he was in the top ten."

Brian said the #34 car struck trouble on lap 80 with front suspension trouble and lost a couple of laps in the pits for repairs.

"Garth continued to hold position and brought the #33 car home in 9th place, giving them yet another top ten finish to add to Bathurst and Sandown top tens."

The race was won by the Mostert/Moffat duo from Courtney/Perkins and Lowndes/Richards. \

"Congratulations to Team PAYCE Porsche driver, James Moffat on his first Gold Coast win in Supercars," Brian said.

Sunday Rain Halts Racing - Brian Boyd

"The Wilson Security Racing GRM team spent time on Saturday night getting the cars in good order for the next day. There was no major work but like most of the field there were some bumps and scratches from battling with other cars and close shaves with the walls."

Brian said Sunday dawned and it confirmed the forecast of likely showers in the afternoon as the grey clouds gathered in the west.

"The support categories all ran in the dry as did Supercars qualifying. The GRM cars improved their times from Saturday, but all the times were again very close to the point that Garth finished the session 15th, but was just four-tenths of a second off qualifying in the Top Ten Shootout.

"Reynolds did a scorcher of a lap to move from 8th in qualifying to top out the times in the shootout."

Brian said as race time approached, the skies darkened but all teams elected to start on dry tyres.

"The first drops of rain started on lap 22, but by lap 30 it was bucketing down and the race was put on hold," Mr. Boyd said.

"The Safety car went out after a spell and cars trailed behind until the lap count reached 41 and a halt to the race was again called and declared a ''no race'.

"The drivers and team managers were all in agreement with the decision as the rain and lightning continued.

"It was a pity to not see the second race completed as it could have made the championship position a bit more interesting.

"There were penalties given over the course of the race that were not imposed that could have upset some standings," Brian said.

The Supercars now move on to Pukekohe in New Zealand for the penultimate round on 2-4 November, 2018.

Current Standings
Drivers Championship
Garth Tander 12th (no change)
James Golding 21st (no change)
Teams Championship
Wilson Security Racing GRM 8th (no change)
Go Team PAYCE!