MEDIA RELEASE - For immediate release - 17 April 2016
PIT ISSUE HIDES SPEED FOR HEIMGARTNER AT ‘THE ISLAND’
The final day of the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint brought strong gains for Andre Heimgartner, with much-needed car speed found for Sunday’s 200km race compared to Saturday’s 120km battle.
This was the first full round for the #3 Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport entry with its new engine, following its installation mid-way through the last round (Tasmania).
For a moment it seemed the engine issues that have dogged the 20 year old for most of the year to date were keen to stick around, with backfiring during qualifying and a lack of power during Saturday’s race. In that stanza, the young Kiwi got four positions in the first lap after starting 25th and then ran as high as 7th before finishing 24th.
However, the team poured over the data of the ABRO/Repair Management Australia entry overnight and were able to find a fix for Sunday’s race which lead to much speed at the disposal of the young gun.
For that race, Heimgartner would start 24th and run as high as 3rd. With good speed and a well handling car, the Melbourne-based racer was feeling confident. Unfortunately it was at that point that things went a bit awry, with seven seconds lost in the pit stop to see him re-join further down the field than he may have otherwise.
He would press on, and move his way back to 21st before a scary moment called on all of his race craft to avoid a nasty incident. With 11 laps remaining and in 21st position, Heimgartner was right up behind Cameron Waters and travelling at around 250 kilometres per hour when Waters had his front drivers side tyre ‘let go’ on the straight in spectacular fashion - leaving Heimgartner nowhere to go but into the back of the Ford for some minor front-end damage. A quick visit to the pits saw the car checked over and new tyres fitted. He would finish 21st on the road after the restart with seven laps remaining.
“The car was a lot faster today than it was yesterday, which was really good,” said Heimgartner.
“Things were looking pretty all right today, but then we lost about seven seconds in the pit stop which put me down the back again which was unfortunate. If it wasn’t for that, I would have been a lot further up the field.
“Then the Waters thing was certainly interesting – we are lucky that it didn’t end up in a very big shunt. It wasn’t the best as it ruined my race a bit as the front bar was out of place and this is a very aero-dependent kind of track, so that made the last stages a bit more difficult.
“Overall though, the car speed was up, and we have made some good gains with set-up and so on and learnt a bit, so it is looking like we are starting to make some real improvements. I can’t wait to get to Perth and see what we can put together over there.”
Heimgartner’s attention now turns to the Perth SuperSprint across May 6-8. For more information, please visit andreheimgartner.com.