Tyre degradation was the talk of the field for the Perth SuperSprint round of the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship, and Darrell Lea STIX driver Will Davison capitalised on his #19 Commodore’s tyre life as well as his driver skill to gain solid finishes in Races 8 and 9 of the Championship.
Varying weather conditions throughout Friday Practice saw many teams struggling to gauge the performance of their cars and find a definitive setup on the wet track.
“Track conditions at the start of the session were just right in the middle; greasy and hard to learn much, but I’m getting a bit of dry running in now,” said Will, who was awaiting a rear spring adjustment in the pits.
“[It’s] standard Perth – very low grip. You get a tyre on and you get about two laps to get some decent information and then the rear grip goes away.
“The initial feel is pretty good as we’ve got a few new little things on board (the #19 Commodore).
“It’s standard Perth practice, but I’m feeling good.”
Q1 on Saturday had rain hit the track almost immediately after the 15-minute session started, and Will managed to grab P9 on his first lap out on slick tyres to start Race 8.
With the 120km race starting on a wet track, and Will pitting on Lap 13 of 50 for soft slicks after a dry racing line formed, it left a long distance to go on one set of tyres.
But with a balanced car underneath him, Will edged up the field throughout the race to finish in P4.
“I’m rapt with fourth,” remarked Will.
“I realised in the last few laps that we were all fighting with nothing by the end of it.
“The degradation on that left rear tyre is the highest I’ve ever dealt with and it became about just nursing the car home in the end.
“We had a good stop in the wet – we got up there and a few people undercut us in the [pit] stop […] but it was a great race; good to be a part of and good points,” he remarked.
Sunday’s Q2 saw mixed success, but with minimal information about dry running on the Barbagallo racetrack in 2016, it ultimately saw Will pushed to mid-pack in P11 for the start of Race 9.
“With no practice at all in the dry, qualifying this morning was the first time we had a feel for the car on a new slick tyre.
“We made a little change and probably made it a little bit worse for the last run and we didn’t really get the time gain we were after, but the car felt quite good.
“[We were] very close, but we just missed the window by a tenth of a second or so, which put us back,” he explained.
A longer race with a distance of 200km meant that strategy played a much bigger part in the outcome of Race 9.
Tough battles in the mid-pack throughout the race prevented Will from leaping up through the field despite Team TEKNO’s strategy, but he fought hard for a Top 10 finish only 9.7 seconds behind the race winner, Mark Winterbottom.
“It was a tough race today, but we salvaged some points in P10,” said Will post-race.
“We certainly didn’t have the balance in the car that we had yesterday but we still worked well together as a team to put together a good race with minimal mistakes.
“Tyre degradation wasn’t too bad, but it was a strategy race: tossing up between two stops or three stops.
“Tricky race and tricky strategy, but at the end of the day we’ve got a lot of data and information out of today so we’ll move onto the next one!”
The next stop on the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship calendar is Winton. Catch Will Davison and the Darrell Lea STIX team at the Winton SuperSprint round on 20-22 May.