Scott Pye has capped off his 200th race celebrations with a solid eighth on Saturday in Phillip Island in what was a hard fought race, while a tyre-explosion left James Courtney in 22nd.
Scott’s eighth could have been much higher, with great race pace shown, but unfortunately, the aero wash around the long sweeping Grand Prix circuit makes passing a challenge.
For JC, he his front right tyre had an unexplained explosion at the end of the main straight, as did the car behind him, meaning debris on the circuit could have been the cause.
Earlier in the day, Scott made a charge through all parts of the three stage knockout qualifying session, starting in the bottom 15 and ending up in eighth, importantly, the fastest Holden in the field.
JC’s session didn’t go to script, unable to progress into stage two, forcing a starting position of 18th.
120kms and 27 laps greeted the field this afternoon.
Off the line, Scott dropped four spots back to 12th after finding himself stuck out wide, while JC picked a few up to be 16th.
Scott had his elbows out in the opening laps, pegging a spot back before stopping on lap five.
The guys in the lane did a fantastic job with a super-speedy stop, gaining two spots, and putting Scott in ninth.
JC was planning on going much longer, until disaster struck a few laps later at the end of the main straight when the tyre let go, which, at 280kph, is definitely not where you want it to happen.
That effectively ended his race, and he circulated until the end. Before that though, he was lapping quicker than those on new tyres behind.
In the closing stages, Scott was able to move past Davidson, but not past van Gisbergen, bringing it home in eighth.
There were definite positives to take when you compare Saturday to Friday, with more to be found overnight.
Practice will begin proceedings tomorrow before qualifying and a 200km race to round out the weekend.
“l I had fun out there.
“I was disappointed with my start off-line, to drop back wasn’t great but we fought back well, and the pace of the car was good.
“The goal was to be the top Holden, we didn’t quite get there today, but we will try again tomorrow!
“I’m overwhelmed by the support for my 200th race, both from the public, and the way the team has shown their appreciation, it honestly means a lot and is something I won’t forget, so I can’t thank everyone enough.”
“It was a pretty disappointing way to finish the day, that’s for sure.
“Up until then, things were going really well, the car was hooked up, it was fast, and we were moving forward.
“Qualifying wasn’t good enough, but the way the car felt in the race was much better.
“That’s the direction we will follow overnight and have another go tomorrow!”