SHELL MUSTANGS STRONG AT WET SANDOWNBen Nightingale
SANDOWN 500 – SATURDAY NOVEMBER 9 – PRACTICE, QUALIFYING AND
Fabian Coulthard & Tony D’Alberto – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 4 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m07.7213s – Coulthard)
Qualifying – 12th (Fastest Lap: 1m08.3970s – Coulthard)
Race 28 – 13th (Fastest Lap: 1m09.3592s – D’Alberto)
Race 29 – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m16.6583s (wet) – Coulthard)
Scott McLaughlin & Alex Prémat – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 4 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m07.5425s (New Lap Record) – McLaughlin)
Qualifying – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m07.7736s – McLaughlin)
Race 28 – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m09.0772s – Premat)
Race 29 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m17.0721s – McLaughlin)
RECAP: The Melbourne weather again played a part in proceedings at Sandown, with contantly changing conditions making tyre strategies a gamble throughout the day.
Practice 4 was strong for the Shell V-Power Racing Team, before Qualifying was interupted mid-session by rain. Fabian Coulthard just missed out on the best track conditions to be 12th, while Scott McLaughlin got a sizzling lap in to take provisional pole.
The co-driver only Race 28 started in dry weather on slicks, but became damp during the race making it a treacherous run around the Sandown Park circuit. Both Alex Premat and Tony D’Alberto kept the cars straight and finished their races to hand the cars over to McLaughlin and Coulthard for the final race of the day.
Race 29 for the main-drivers would decide the grid for tomorrow’s Sandown 500. McLaughlin started sixth, with Coulthard 13th and they quickly moved forward in full-wet conditions.
McLaughlin’s championship rival Shane van Gisbergen crashed out early, so McLaughlin took no risks and finished a strong fifth despite battling over-pressured wet tyres as the track dried.
Coulthard’s race was sensational, making up a fantastic seven places to finish sixth and right on the rear bumper of teammate McLaughlin.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs will start side-by-side from the third row of the grid tomorrow, with 161 laps and 500km of racing ahead of them.
COULTHARD QUOTE: “Car felt really good in the wet for that last race, and we were able to race and move forward. Starting sixth tomorrow is great and we know we have a fast Mustang, Tony is doing a great job and we will be aiming for a strong result. ”
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “Solid day today. Qualified really well. The car is good in the dry, in the wet it was pretty good too. Alex was safe in his race, and we started well in mine but we just went with too high pressures in the tyres and unfortunately just fell back at the end there. Still got fifth, a solid starting position for tomorrow.”
D’ALBERTO QUOTE: “Those were some tough conditions out there, and some of the co-drivers were playing for sheep stations so it was good to bring the var back straight and then watch Fabian cut through the field in the last race. We will have a good crack at it tomorrow.”
PRÉMAT QUOTE: “That co-driver race was pretty crazy, I had guys crashing around me everywhere but I just had to be safe and look after the car and bring it back straight so Scott could have a good run in his race. Fifth is a good place to start for tomorrow, and we know we have a fast car so we are looking forward to the race.”