De Silvestro pleased with qualifying improvements at the Bend
Simona De Silvestro left Tailem Bend with her career best qualifying performances, which were not converted in race results due to unfortunate accidents.
Almost one month from the previous round at Ipswich, Australian premier motorsport championship Supercars made its return to Tailem Bend.
Simona De Silvestro had a positive Friday practice sessions, with steady pace across the day:
“We’ve been fairly consistent today which is good, in the early stages of practice two we had a couple of laps up in the top ten which is positive but once we put green tyres on I’m not really sure what happened but overall I think we’re alright, the car feels pretty good, we’ll just tune it up for tomorrow.” - commented the Swiss racer, after ending the day in P17.
"This track is really challenging because it takes a lot to string a lap together but it’s really fun and I like it.”
The driver of the #78 Harvey Norman entry did indeed put an good lap together in the first qualify, as she took the start of race 1 from the 13th grid slot, her best qualifying effort in the Supercars Championship so far.
De Silvestro had a good start, but unfortunately her race came to a premature end soon after. Kelly triggered a first lap incident when he squeezed Courtney into the path of Will Davison, who spun as a consequence: his Mustang was collected by the innocent Simona de Silvestro and Todd Hazelwood, who both retired with heavy damages.
“It’s a bit frustrating for sure because I think our car was really strong, we had a really good result in qualifying and got a good start to the race." - said De Silvestro.
"The whole weekend we’ve been really good and had strong pace, mid-pack and up there, so while it was good to show that in qualifying in the race it was just wrong place, wrong time.”
While certainly disappointed, Simona was still very confident about the promising pace her Nissan Altima showed for the Sunday's race: “It’s definitely a bit annoying because I think we could have had a pretty strong race, but these things happen and you can’t get too worked up about it because it is what it is and luckily we have another shot at it tomorrow so we know we’re pretty quick so looking forward to having another go tomorrow.”
Scott McLaughlin extended his championship lead with yet another victory over rival Chaz Mostert, who tried an early pitstop in the attempt to undercut the Shell V-Power Racing team driver, in vain. Mostert. who started from pole but lost the lead at the race start, chased McLaughlin for the rest of the race but had to settle for second.
The 30-year old from Thun, Switzerland, was again pleased with her qualifying efforts after another strong session on Sunday's morning, when she qualified in P14.
Starting again from the 7th row, De Silvestro had another challenging race hampered by more contacts.
“We had another pretty good qualifying session today so we’re really making some gains with that and in the race I got a pretty good start but somebody got into us a little and that put me off the track at turn three and then kind of recovered from there." - she said.
On lap 39, Andre Heimgartner attempted a move on his Kelly Racing teammate De Silvestro but the two Altimas made contact and the #78 Harvey Norman entry was spun around at turn nine. She took the chequered flag in P22, certainly a result that does not reflect De Silvestro's speed and progresses made over the weekend.
“I’m still positive though, I think we made really good improvements in qualifying because that’s kind of been our weakness and I’m really happy about that. I think the test day we did was really positive, I think we can be proud of ourselves because I feel like we’re really starting to get to where we need to be, we just need a bit of luck on our side for the race.”
Up front, it was again a Scott McLaughlin show, as he matched Lowndes record of 16 wins in a season. McLaughlin passed Will Davison in the early stages of the race to take his second weekend victory at the Bend from Davison and Mostert.
Despite some tough races, De Silvestro comes home with positives from Tailem Bend and will now look forward to the New Zealand round at Pukekohe Raceway in three weeks time.
In Simona's words:
"I feel like we’re really starting to get to where we need to be, we just need a bit of luck on our side for the race."
Ph credits: Kelly Racing