Lots of on-track action at Sandown today saw TEKNO battle mechanical failures and other incidents to get through the day with straight cars, ready for the 500km battle tomorrow.

Practice this morning was held in clear, cool, sunny conditions. All four TEKNO drivers got some laps in the car, with the Shane van Gisbergen/Jeroen Bleekemolen Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods Commodore ending the session ninth fastest, and the Jonathon Webb/Marc Lieb Team TEKNO Darrell Lea Commodore 27th after some issues with the braking system.

The 20-minute qualifying session came and went with SVG putting the #97 into p16 and Webby the #19 onto p20. The first of the two 20-lap races this afternoon was for co-drivers only, and would determine the grid for the second, main-driver, race.

Jeroen and Marc both had solid pace, with Jeroen holding steady in p16 until a driveshaft failure on lap 10 put him out of the race, and SVG into p26 for the main feature.

Marc had a good race slightly further back, battling back and forth with the Nissans of Taz Douglas and Daniel Gaunt, and the Commodore of Matt Halliday. He was knocked around after the safety car restart, which bent his steering and put paid to a better result. He finished p20.

In the second race, with all of the main series drivers at the wheel, a frantic first lap saw several runners go off at turn one on the first lap. One of the worst affected was Webby, who didn’t go off but had to take evasive action to avoid a crash. This pushed him back to p25, and he pushed hard to finish p23, which is where the #19 will start the 500km tomorrow.

SVG put his race face on, and cracked out the Evil Knievel helmet, starting from p26 he picked them off one-by-one to finish a fighting p14, earning a much improved grid spot for the big one.

It’s a long race tomorrow, so with all four drivers getting on the pace, TEKNO is confident of a great result.

How they saw it:

Jonathon Webb
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19 VF Commodore
Qualifying position: 23rd

“Unfortunately qualifying was nowhere near where we needed to be. Marc did a fantastic job, stayed out of trouble, brought the car home a spot or two further forward. I got a poor start, and then got caught up with everyone piling into one another.”

Marc Lieb
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19 VF Commodore
Qualifying position: 23rd

“I felt very comfortable until the safety car, and then I had contact with someone. The steering was all bent, and the toe was all wrong so I was fighting the car. I had good confidence, and good speed, so we will look at the data tonight and make it better for tomorrow.”

Shane van Gisbergen
Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 VF Commodore
Qualifying position: 14th

“We didn’t have a good qualifying car, but Jeroen did a really good job holding position and was doing well until the tailshaft broke. The boys did awesomely well to get it changed in the break, and then we started 26th for the second race. I took it easy at the first corner, as there was a big crash and then we had pace, and I picked them off. 14th was the best we could do, I think, which is pretty good from where we started. I just need a little tweak, and then I’ll be happy with it for tomorrow. I think we had most of the top-eight’s pace, but Will Davison was another step ahead of everyone. I think we’re pretty good to start with, though.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen
Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods #97 VF Commodore
Qualifying position: 14th

“I felt pretty good in race conditions; I had a lot of fun. I could keep up with the guys ahead. I had a decent race until the driveshaft broke, so I’m feeling pretty comfortable for tomorrow. It’s a long race, but I think, as Shane showed in the second race, we have a very strong car.”

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