04 NOV 2017
Wild afternoon of racing at Auckland SuperSprint
Nissan Motorsport has finished just outside the Top 10 following a day of wild weather at the Auckland SuperSprint.
The morning's qualifying session was cancelled due to heavy rain, which forced the grid to be set from Friday's practice times. The wet weather was expected to disrupt the afternoon's 200km race, but it (somehow) went on to have little impact on the event.
Rick Kelly started the race from 13th and crossed the line as the highest placed Nissan in 11th. The Sengled Racing driver chose a dry weather set-up to tackle the challenging Pukekohe Park circuit, and it proved to be consistent over the time-certain 66 lap event.
Todd Kelly was the next Nissan home in 15th. It was an impressive climb from the #7 carsales Racing entry, as he had started from 22nd on the grid after his practice times were combined. TK was able to move up the order thanks to some hard-charging as well as slick pit stops from the crew.
After a washed out qualifying, Michael Caruso took a gamble on a wet weather set up for today's race. When the team was forced to change to slicks as the cars lined up on the grid, the #23 Nissan NISMO prepared for a tough afternoon. Only a light drizzle fell on the track throughout the race, and Caruso crossed the line in 17th.
Simona De Silvestro is getting familiar with competing in variable weather conditions, as the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver successfully finished her first race around Pukekohe Park. After starting the event in 24th, De Silvestro stayed out of trouble as those around her found the gravel (and worse). The Swiss driver made up several spots and crossed the line in 18th. The Swiss-driver now brings a full race worth of experience in tomorrow's 200km event finale.
Tomorrow at the Auckland SuperSprint features a 20-minute qualifying session and 200km race to conclude the event.
Rick Kelly - #15 Sengled Racing
"We ran our dry set-up and it turned out to be a good decision. It was actually a really tricky race. The car was fast at times, but we found our car weak when we needed to defend. I had a hairy moment when Waters and Lowndes were fighting into the final corner. So 11th is not where we wanted to finish, but given all the circumstances, we'll grab that. We'll look to tidy the car and driving overnight."
Todd Kelly - #7 carsales Racing
"The unfortunate part was that we had to start 22nd. The car was reasonably good and quite strong in the race. The only real weakness in the car was at the hairpin, which is also the only real passing opportunity. So I'd blaze up onto people with plenty of pace, but was unable to pass. So if we can improve that section, we should be on for a reasonable day. It'll be good to get a qualifying session down and not start from practice times."
Michael Caruso - #23 Nissan NISMO
"I don't think our car is too bad. But in hindsight, we made a bad call. We thought the rain was going to come and it didn't. So we ran a wet set-up that was pretty tough in the dry. During the race, we got hit in the left rear and it ruined the ability to turn left. So we salvaged what we could. Now we'll look towards getting more points tomorrow."
Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman
"The safety cars meant that this was a pretty interesting race. We seemed to have good pace over longer runs, which hurt us when the safety car came out. We have a few things to tweak overnight, but it is still a really fun place to race. There's no way we could have qualified in the wet conditions we were dealing with. So naturally, we wanted to start the race higher up, but we'll look to do that in tomorrow's qualifying."