Yesterday Kelly Grove Racing broke the news that Matt Campbell would co-drive with Andre Heimgartner…
MEDIA RELEASE/Kelly Racing – Photos: Velocity Magazine
Kelly Racing has today returned to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia for Round Nine of the Supercars Championship. The Bend is a venue where the team has seen success in the past, most recently at this year’s pre-season test day when the team’s box-fresh Ford Mustang finished the day in P2 with André Heimgartner at the wheel.
From the outset today both Rick Kelly and André Heimgartner looked quick at this challenging circuit, placing in the top-ten in both practice sessions. Despite the high winds and intermittent showers making it particularly challenging to setup the cars, the engineering crew were able to lock in a competitive setup ahead of qualifying.
In qualifying both drivers comfortably made it through the two sessions to proceed through to the top-fifteen shootout. Rick Kelly’s shootout lap was quick enough to place the Castrol Racing Mustang in P8 and was only a tenth off the second row. André Heimgartner’s lap in the NED Whisky Mustang was a little loose but still good enough for P10.
In the race both drivers were able to make a good start – Rick settled into P8 while André jumped one position to P9. On lap one an incident involving the leaders saw Rick and André move up a further two positions to sixth and seventh respectively.
André’s undercut pit stop strategy seemed to benefit his race and put him in the mix with the podium finishers after Mclaughlin and Holdsworth were involved in an incident in the closing laps. André finished the race in fourth position right on the rear bumper of third-place Bryce Fullwood. Rick finished in a very respectable sixth place in the Castrol Racing Mustang.
The team now looks forward to refining its package overnight for tomorrow’s two races.
André Heimgartner, #7 NED Racing
“It was a fairly solid race for us in the NED Whisky Ford Mustang, we had a good start, picked up a few places from that. We had good pace and managed to pit pretty early which was a good strategy and had some good speed to undercut some people and then hold them off in the end.”
“I made a small mistake getting past Mostert which meant Bryce got position in front of me and he went on to finish ahead of me in P3 so I think we could have got on the podium had that not happened, but overall it’s a really positive result and a step in the right direction.”
“Tomorrow we’ll try tune the car up a bit more for qualifying as our shootout lap was pretty loose, but otherwise the car has been pretty quick all day, a big improvement on where we’ve been at the last few rounds.”
Rick Kelly, #15 Castrol Racing
“The car has been performing really well today, we were on the wrong side of half a tenth of a second which would have put us on the second row for the start of the race but nonetheless it was a good improvement from the last few rounds.”
“Unfortunately we kind of took ourselves out of a podium place, we pitted after everyone else and lost track position and it’s obviously quite hard to pass. Sixth is still a good result but it’s always a tough one when you could be on the podium.”
“We can learn from that strategy wise for tomorrow, but the positive is the car is in the window, we just need to make sure we keep evolving as the track evolves over the weekend.”
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