08 JUL 2017
Nissan hits reset button after tough day in Townsville
Nissan Motorsport will hit the reset button tomorrow after a tough afternoon of racing during the first leg of the Townsville 400.
Michael Caruso was the fastest Nissan in today's 20-minute qualifying session and lined up 10th on the grid for the afternoon's 200km race. The #23 Nissan NISMO entry had a lengthy first pitstop on lap 18 due to a wheel nut issue. Following his final stop on lap 48, Caruso rejoined the midpack in 16th. After 70 laps of racing, he crossed the line in 15th.
Rick Kelly started today's event from 18th on the grid, following a challenging qualifying session in the team's latest Nissan Supercar (Chassis 008). The #15 Sengled Racing driver made his first pit stop on lap 17 for tyres and fuel. And then the process was repeated on lap 44. Running just outside the Top 10, Kelly then suffered a slow puncture which forced an unscheduled stop on lap 62. With his late race momentum broken, Kelly crossed the line in 17th position.
Unlike her teammates, Simona De Silvestro had a relatively trouble-free event. Starting from 24th on the grid, the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver enjoyed a consistent afternoon furthering her knowledge around the Reid Park circuit. Well executed pit stops on laps 17 and 45, combined with hard and clean racing, resulted in De Silvestro claiming an 18th placed finish.
Todd Kelly's afternoon was all but over within 400 metres of the start of today's race. The #7 carsales Racing entry was an innocent bystander in lap one carnage, and heavy damage to the front of the Nissan forced a number of pit stops for repairs. By lap 52, the team elected to retire Kelly as he was unable to complete the minimum number of laps required to be awarded championship points.
Michael Caruso - P10 / 1:16.63 / +.5585
Todd Kelly - P15 / 1:12.98 / +.0967
Rick Kelly - P18 / 1:12.73 / +.6665
Simona De Silvestro - P24 / 1:13.50 / +1.429
Michael Caruso - P15
Rick Kelly - P17
Simona De Silvestro - P18
Todd Kelly - DNF
Michael Caruso - #23 Nissan NISMO
"It's disappointing that we didn't convert a pretty good qualifying session today. It's pretty rare that our pit crew make a mistake, so to have two issues is a bitter pill to swallow. But we get to reset tomorrow, and I'm sure the team will be keen to put today behind them as well. There's another qualifying session tomorrow which will allow us to start again."
Rick Kelly - #15 Sengled Racing
We all race to win, there's no doubt about that. So we're a little bit disappointed with the result. But I enjoyed the race and am enthused with how the car handled. I think overall, the package is quite strong. There's a lot of promising signs there. So we've got to look forward to tomorrow.
Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman
"We had a good start and made some passes in the first few laps, which was quite good. I went three wide and passed two cars there a well. So that all was really cool. It's just interesting with the tyre degradation and how you really have to be on top of that. These cars are easy to over-drive, and so I am constantly learning. I'm looking forward to hopefully being further up the order in tomorrow's qualifying.
Todd Kelly - #7 carsales Racing
"The tone for the day was set after 400 metres. I got a good start, and at this place, it can get pretty congested at turn one. So I braked early enough to have some breathing space to the car in front. Then I absolutely got clobbered from behind and sustained a fair bit of damage. Then one of the Shell cars got turned around, and I had nowhere to go. I had to pit with quite a bit of damage, but the team managed to tape it up. After going back out, we kept cutting front right tyres and had to park it. We lost a lot of valuable points today. We didn't even get to see what the car could do in the race, so I'm keen to run tomorrow and find out."