The Darrell Lea STIX team have worked to solve a vibration issue, which plagued the 97 Commodore during practice at the Townsville 400. Shane van Gisbergen set the fourth quickest time in the days first practice session with a 1:14.69 only just managing to warm up the hard tyres before returning to the garage.
The new chassis ‘Lola’ is still new, running its first round in Darwin last month and shakedown without any issues.
“It’s just got a big vibration, so feeling a bit sick from it even though I’ve only done two laps.” van Gisbergen said.
Unfortunately the Darrell Lea STIX Commodore missed practice two as the team worked to replace the transaxle in preparation of final 30 minute practice session.
Missing the majority of two sessions has been a setback as our program for the weekend must now be reconfigured to accommodate this unexpected change.
The car was back out for the third and final practice session today which allowed the team to collect valuable data as van Gisbergen posted a lap time of 1:13.53; 7th fastest in this session.
“It was a little better in that third session, I didn’t get sick from it, but it’s not fixed,” said Van Gisbergen.
“Earlier it was a deep, harmonic vibration which is no good for you. It just leaves you sick in the gut. It’s really bad.
“But even in that last session I couldn’t really see at the end of the straight, so it’s pretty average.”
“They did everything in Practice 2, pretty much from the bell-housing back it was all new, replaced and checked,” he said.
“It’s hard to know what else is next but they’ll go through it all again tonight and I’m sure they’ll get it fixed.
“It seems reasonably fast, but we’ll just have to see. Tomorrow it can only be faster when it feels nice.
“We tried a few things but you don’t have full confidence in the car when it’s shaking itself so bad.”
Although Shane is characteristically quick at street circuits we are yet to win in Townsville; though he is one of eight drivers to reach the podium at this circuit and currently sitting at fifth in the overall championship standings.
Saturday’s schedule kicks off with practice 4 in the morning followed by a vital qualifying session for the 70 lap race in the afternoon.