DE PASQUALE CLAIMS PODIUM IN WILD OPENING RACE AT THE BEND

THE BEND SUPERSPRINT – SATURDAY 8 MAY  – PRACTICE, QUALIFYING, RACE 9
Anton De Pasquale – No. 11 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 5th (Fastest time: 1:50.8267s)
Practice 2 – 25th (Fastest time: 1:51.3303s)
Qualifying: Race 9 – 4th (Fastest time: 1:50.6701s)
Race 9 – 3rd (Fastest time: 1:50.7425s)

Will Davison – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 7th (Fastest time: 1:50.9271s)
Practice 2 – 3rd (Fastest time: 1:49.4893s)
Qualifying: Race 9 – 6th (Fastest time: 1:50.6701s)
Race 9 – 8th (Fastest time: 1:50.9899s)

PRACTICE RECAP

Following a competitive weekend in Tasmania two weeks ago, the Shell V-Power Racing Team headed to Tailem Bend in Adelaide with good momentum.

The day started cool and clear, however light rain coated the track an hour before Practice 1. With the track still damp from the earlier rain, The Shell V-Power Racing Team rolled out on wet Dunlop tyres to start the session. 

A red flag with just over six minutes remaining sent both Mustangs back to the garage to wait it out. On the restart, the entire field followed Davison and De Pasquale out for three more fast laps. Both drivers improved on each lap as the track continued to dry. Davison finish the session in P7, with De Pasquale in P5.

After a short break and another stint of rain, we rolled out for Practice 2 on a wet track. Once again, both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs started the session on the Dunlop wet compound tyres. Both drivers were unhappy with track conditions and their wet tyres so after 10 minutes the crew brought both Mustangs in for slicks. 

As both cars stopped for another set of green tyres, light rain started to fall again. De Pasquale was on a quick lap before making a small mistake through the second sector. He had time to reset and go for one final lap. 

Davison also made an error on his first lap went again. On his second lap around he improved to P2, before getting bumped to P3. In greasy conditions, De Pasquale wasn’t able to stitch his last lap together and finished the session in P25, not indicative of his true pace. 

QUALIFYING RECAP

Both drivers rolled out for Part One of qualifying to rainy conditions. The Top 20 from this session would advance to Part Two. All cars struggled with grip around a drenched track. Both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs completed four laps before the end of the session. Finishing the session in P3 (De Pasquale) and P6 (Davison), both drivers progressed to Part Two.

The Top 10 from Part Two would progress to the final 10 minute session. It was a close call for De Pasquale who needed to come back into the lane before he had completed a lap to have the fog cleared from his windscreen. He managed to get back out and complete one lap, which was good enough for P8. Davison finished the session fifth quickest with both drivers advancing into Part Three.

Once again, both Davison and De Pasquale went out to complete a four lap run. Davison completed his fastest lap of the session on his second lap, good enough for a P6 finish. De Pasquale left his quickest for last, jumping up four spots into P4. 

RACE 9 RECAP

After periodic rain throughout the day, Race 9 was set to start on a wet track with all of the field starting on the Dunlop wet compound. Starting from P4, De Pasquale got a great start in wet conditions, moving up into the lead momentarily before going wide on cold tyres into turn six. He dropped off the track but was able to re-join in P6.

Davison also got off the line well, advancing two spots however the No. 17 Mustang fell down the order quickly, struggling with low grip. As soon as the pit window opened on lap six, the crew brought Davison in for his pit stop to get off the wets and onto four soft tyres. The next lap around, teammate De Pasquale also came in for his four soft tyres. 

After two strong pit stops and issues for cars ahead, both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs were in good positions following their stops. With the track slowly drying, lap times kept increasing. De Pasquale showed great race however Davison was still struggling with grip in his No. 17 Mustang.

On lap 17, James Courtney made contact with Davison sending him back two spots. 

Nick Percat pitted from the lead on lap 20 and returned just in front of the No. 11. On warm tyres, De Pasquale was able to get by him through turn three and hang onto P3. As Percat’s fresher tyres warmed up, De Pasquale was able to withstand the pressure and finish in P3, claiming another podium for the team. 

Davison battled with his No. 17 Mustang all race, struggling with grip on both the wet and soft tyres. He finished up Race 9 in P8. 

DE PASQUALE QUOTE 

“The main theme of today was the mixed weather conditions, which always throws curveballs. Off the back of a wet Sandown SuperSprint, my car were much better in the wet. A lot more comfortable. 

We qualified up the front which is where we needed to be considering the conditions. My car was a jet for the first half of lap one, got to the lead but then I locked the fronts into turn six which was a little unnecessary. So a little annoyed I threw that away however we were able to claw a bit back and finish on the podium, so I’m quite happy with that.”

DAVISON QUOTE 

“Conditions were really tough today which made me have to work really hard in the race. Ultimately we got away with some good points off the back of a tough race. I got a good start but then struggled in the wet conditions and was treated like a bit of a ping pong ball getting hit from pillar to post there for a bit there. 

It was just one of those races where we lacked some pace and balance with the car which put us in defence mode. Was good to bring it home and get the points but the focus is now is on tomorrow and making the car a little nicer for me.”