SUPERCARS: DE SILVESTRO LEADS NISSAN TEAM IN PERTH
Simona De Silvestro has finished both PIRTEK Perth SuperNight races in 12th, first of the Nissan squad.
The shining cars running under the artificial lights of Perth's Barbagallo Raceway certainly offered some spectacular images during the last weekend's rounds of Supercars championship.
But it wasn't just about the scenographic backdrop for Kelly Racing's Simona De Silvestro who undoubtedly had her best weekend this season in the premiere Australian racing series.
Starting the first race in 17th position, the Swiss girl had a poor start affected by a clutch problem. All had seemed to go in the wrong direction for De Silvestro, when her team gambled with an aggressive strategy and pitted her early.
“I didn’t have the best start because I had an issue with the clutch, but then we had good pace and the team did a really good job of getting me out of traffic with the pit stop timing and once we came back onto the track we were quite fast so that was really positive.”
A good car balance and great tyre management skills did the rest, as Simona made her way through the field up to P12.
“Because we stopped quite early in the race we started to get a little nervous towards the end with tyre wear, however we were able to manage so it was a positive result.”
De Silvestro's Harvey Norman was the first Kelly Racing car at the finish line.
After narrowly missing out the Q2 in Saturday's qualifying, Simona started the second race in 16th. She stayed out of trouble and kept a competitive pace throughout, until the Safety Car was deployed following a contact involving her teammate André Heimgartner and Scott Pye.
The race neutralization played out well for De Silvestro's strategy and she was able to reach the 12th place once again.
“Once again I didn’t really get a good start so we need to work on that because we lost two positions there but then we had really good pace in the clean air so that was positive. However, we struggled when behind cars to get by people in the areas where it mattered and on the straight.” - she commented.
“The safety car was ok for us because we made a few positions there so that was positive. It was a good weekend overall, we had pace in clean air which helped us to produce consistent results.”
Plenty of positives to take home for the 30 year-old, who was once again the leading Nissan Altima at the checkered flag.
After a couple of difficult rounds, De Silvestro's pace looked convincing all weekend, as she and the Harvey Norman crew appeared to have found new encouraging directions in the setup of the #78 car.
In her words:
“Happy with how the race went after a chaotic start. Car was really well balanced today in the race. Moving in the right direction.”
Ph credits: Kelly Racing