Nissan has returned to the podium of an Australian Touring Car race for the first time since 1992 today at Winton, while TEKNO struggled to find the grip needed on the Dunlop soft tyres.
The day started pretty well, with both Team TEKNO Darrell Lea’s Jonathon Webb and Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods’ Shane van Gisbergen were happy with their car’s balance in the morning practice session.
Qualifying for Race 25 came up, with a frantic 20-minute session – punctuated by a red-flag disruption caused by Erebus Motorsport V8’s Tim Slade – ended with Shane starting 6th and Jonathon 22nd for the 40-lap 60/60 event.
The first half of the race was pretty straightforward for the field, with Jamie Whincup the only casualty with a drive line failure on lap 9 whilst leading. The remaining 27 cars were all pretty cautious, as the second half is the race that earns the points. Shane and Jonathon both gained one position, SVG finishing 5th and Jonathon p21.
The double file rolling restart got the second half underway without any major carnage, Shane lost a position to Courtney, dropping back to sixth. Jonathon had a pretty good start, gaining two spots to 19th.
As the race progressed, it became clear that Shane was struggling with grip, as he was hounded by Will Davison and Fabian Coulthard for 12 laps before they were able to get past. His efforts to keep them behind him meant that he’d spent his soft rubber, and then fell back 13th by race end.
Jonathon had a similar race, with his car not working particularly well on the soft tyres. He managed to hold pace in 19th until the final lap, when Scott McLaughlin got by him.
Tomorrow at Winton Motor Raceway brings two qualifying sessions tomorrow morning, followed by a pair of 100km races in the afternoon.
How they saw it:
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19 VF Commodore
Race 25 finishing position: 20th
“It was a pretty disappointing day in the end, I suppose. In qualifying the car didn’t feel too bad, and I just didn’t get the most out of it. I wasn’t happy with my starting position, but felt comfortable with the car. Tweaked the car a little bit before the race, but not a lot. The first half was average, and in the break we tuned it up, but it seems we went the wrong way and just had no grip. We were pretty lucky just to keep it on the road at the end.”
Shane van Gisbergen
Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 VF Commodore
Race 25 finishing position: 13th
“Not much I can say about today really. It wasn’t a good one, that’s for sure. We were slow everywhere, and we’ve got plenty of work to do.”