The first race of the 2013 endurance season is over, with the 161 lap Sandown 500 run at the suburban Melbourne circuit this afternoon.

TEKNO went into the race with high hopes for a strong afternoon, and we showed great pace across much of the day. Unfortunately a few issues, including an engine oil pressure problemn and a brush with the turn three wall compromised the speed of the Shane van Gisbergen/Jeroen Bleekemolen Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 Commodore as the race progressed. Despite this, they fought hard, starting the race 14th to finish 12th at the end for the 500km.

The pairing of Jonathon Webb and Marc Lieb started the race 23rd, and were concerned that their handling issues may not have been resolved. Despite not being completely happy with the car, both drivers had good pace throughout their stints. Jonathon drove a smart race, taking positions as they came, without any undue risk. He got tangled up with Chaz Mostert at the final turn of the last lap, to finish p13. He apologised to Chaz straight after the race, and took a 25 point penalty as a result.

How they saw it:

Jonathon Webb
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19 VF Commodore
Race 28 finishing position: 13th

“The weekend in general has been really frustrating. I just haven’t been able to get the speed, or get the car comfortable to drive. I felt like it was going to be a long day. Marc played it smart, stayed out of trouble, but it kind of showed that it was all that comfortable for him to drive. As the race went on, his lap times improved as he got more comfortable. I was wondering what I was going to be getting into, but we cruised along, on our own for a lot of the time, and the track seemed to come back to us. I adapted my driving style a lot to suit it, and in the latter part of the race we were one of the fastest cars on the track, so we’re heading in the right direction. There are still as couple of key things to fix in the lead-up to Bathurst. There are a couple of gremlins in the car, and I’m not sure where they’re coming from. We’ll keep working, and if we can get the right for Bathurst, with MArc happy and the team working together so well. It’s definitely been a great team effort to get us back.”

Marc Lieb
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19 VF Commodore
Race 28 finishing position: 13th

“Yeah, it was a difficult start, coming here, sitting in the car for the first time in practice. I was expecting it to be a little bit easier, but these cars are quite tricky to drive, like the old ones. We were just imporving in every session. In the race, I was quite confident with my pace, but we were on a different strategy, so I was on old rubber, which was very difficult at the beginning, but I got my head around it and ended up doing really good times on really old rubber. That’s good, and that’s why I’m looking forward to the next race. Bathurst is going to be tough, having to learn the track, but I now know the car. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s always been at the top of the list of races that I hadn’t competed in yet, so it will be really cool to do.

Shane van Gisbergen
Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 VF Commodore
Race 28 finishing position: 12th

“We had similar problems to what we’ve been having recently, not enough grip and then I crashed. After that something was bent. It started out pretty well, and I thought we were going well, and then we were just slow and everyone could get past us. Jeroen did a great job though, he was strong and stayed with all the guys around him. He’ll be great at Bathurst too.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen
Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 VF Commodore
Race 28 finishing position: 12th

“I had a lot of fun. In the end the race was pretty good for me, I started the race and had petty good pace, i could keep up with the guys ahead. Others had some troubles, so we slowly moved to the front and I didn’t have big issues, so I was really happy with what I could do. It was great, I learned a lot during my stint, we went a bit further than we were expecting, so it was really god to get up to speed for the next one. I think it was a good run. Now I’m really starting to learn the car well, It’s very hard to just jump into one of these cars without having a test day, but in the end we were right up to speed come race time, so we were there right on time, and it has been a really good preparation for Bathurst.”