With the enduro season of the V8 Supercars coming to a close last weekend at the Gold Coast 600.
We give a complete wrap up on the weekend from the team at Redbull Racing Australia.
It was a weekend of ups and downs for stable mates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes with fortunes drastically different on either side of the garage.
Qualifying kicked off Saturday with both drivers showing promising results, Whincup qualifying 2nd and Lowndes placing 9th.
The stage was ready for a nail-biting top ten shootout with both drivers taking part.
Drivers are now feeling the pressure as mid-afternoon approached, when the cars take to the track for the shootout, with only one lap to settle the grid position for the top ten in Race 1 of the weekend.
With particular importance on grid position at the Gold Coast circuit, No driver has won the race from outside the top 6 in recent history.
Whincup and Lowndes had a bit of a rough introduction to the shootout setting good base times, however with the track conditions improving later in the shootout.
Shane van Gisbergen of Team Darrell Lea STIX was last out for the shootout. With a blistering performance pole position was his for the race ahead. Leaving Lowndes placed in 6th and Whincup in 7th.
Saturday is coming to a close with the main event Race 26 of the championship; Drivers take to the concrete jungle known as the Gold Coast street circuit.
Shane Van Gisbergen and Jonathan Web took out the top place on the podium with varying results for Red Bull Racing Australia with Craig Lowndes coming in 3rd and after a tough day at the office Jamie Whincup placing in 24th.
The drivers summed up their experience in Race 26 Chatting with Craig post race he said: “I’m delighted it’s always a great feeling when you’re on the podium at a place like the Gold Coast. It was a tough day, and Richo got a reasonable start, but he was swamped heading into the first chicane. He stayed out of trouble, and his stint showed the car had great pace. When I got in the car, I struggled a little bit with traffic mid-race, but once I got into some clean air, the guys did a great job with the strategy to get me to the front. A late safety car bunched the field and then I had a great battle with Dave Reynolds. We had better speed, but on a circuit like this it’s always hard to pass. I kept pressuring him, but he didn’t make any mistakes. To end up third is great for the championship.”
Jamie also had a few words to say: “It was a tough day today. We can’t take a trick at the moment. We were confident we had a quick car, but unfortunately when you don’t qualify right up the front, you’re exposed to incidents in the pack. We fell short early in the race, and that put us behind the eight ball. The strategy from there on in was just to conserve tyres for a later date.”
With the sun setting on another day, the team was back in the garage putting the finishing touches on car 888 for tomorrow’s race however car 1 was in need of some mechanical repairs ahead of Qualifying and Race 27.
The sun rises over pit lane with both cars looking brand new showing no signs of yesterday’s dance with the concrete barriers and mirror crushing circuit.
The drivers are getting into the rhythm of the morning gearing up for qualifying that is first up on the day; The drivers take to the circuit for the 20-minute qualifying session with once again both Red Bull Racing Australia showing good results in the Qualifying session.
The stage for Race 27 was set with Whincup sitting 4th and Lowndes 2nd this was a race of constant fuel counting and strategy with drivers getting down to the last litre of fuel to complete the race.
James Courtney of Holden Racing Team and co-driver Jack Perkins took out top place on the podium with Craig coming 4th and Whincup placing 7th
Chatting with the drivers post race Jamie Said: “P7 that’s the best result for us during this year’s enduro season. It’s been pretty disappointing, but we’ve been trying hard. We did absolutely everything we could today, but I just didn’t have the pace. I think we maximised what we had, and I’m pretty proud of everyone in the team.”
And Craig talking on the feel of the car said: “The car today was good I think at the beginning of the race the car felt nice. Richo did a fantastic job just to look after it, and he had a ripper start. Of course when you’re at the front you can maintain that all. Whether we played the right card with the safety car at the end, I’m not sure, but we’ll go away and analyse it. It’s credit to the team to have a third and a fourth out of these two races. It’s not been a bad weekend. All in all, we closed that point gap back down to Frosty. That was the main objective this weekend. We move on to New Zealand now, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The weekend draws to a close with drivers now setting their focus on a tight turn around to the New Zealand Round.