A barnstorming drive from James Courtney has catapulted him from 24th on the grid to eighth in the first ever Supercars race at The Bend, while Scott Pye moved forward five spots into 18th.
The gain of 16 places included 11 spots on the first lap, which was breathtaking to watch.
After three practice sessions to familiarise ourselves with Australia’s newest permanent circuit, qualifying was disappointing, with both cars struggling to find the grip required, resulting in Scott 23rd and JC 24th.
The work was ahead of us, and both drivers got stuck in.
Scott started on the dirty side of the track which hurt him off the line but battled hard for the remainder of the race. In clear air, the car had good pace, there just wasn’t enough of it, especially after a safety car bunched the field back up on lap eight.
After his stellar first lap, JC picked off the cars in front one-by-one. With five laps to go, he reeled in the battle pack for fourth, but despite being quicker, just couldn’t find the space to move forward even further.
While the pace of the cars throughout the 24 laps was another step forward, finding grip on a dirty track in qualifying will be a key area to address overnight, to ensure that give ourselves the best chance of a strong result tomorrow.
We roll straight into qualifying tomorrow morning, before a 200km race to round out the weekend.
“That was a bit of fun, it’s always nice to pass that many cars.
“The car during the race was great today, and really good in the opening laps. The guys did a great job with that package.
“We just need to start a bit further up tomorrow to make life a lot easier for everyone.”
“Qualifying hurt us today, especially being on the dirty side of the road off the line.
“We need to continue to work at understanding why we are struggling during the hottest part of the day.
“The car was good in the race though, the balance was good, we just needed some clear air to move further forward.”