09 JUL 2018
Top 10 finish for Nissan in Townsville
Nissan Motorsport has left the Townsville 400 with a Top 10 finish to conclude a dramatic weekend of racing.
Rick Kelly was the leading Nissan after 70 laps of action around the Reid Park circuit, finishing in a strong 7th place. The #15 Castrol Racing driver lined up in 3rd on the grid, following an impressive one-lap shootout performance. A clean getaway, followed by excellent pit stops from the crew, helped deliver the strong result. Kelly now also further cements his position within the Top 10 on Championship points.
Andre Heimgartner took advantage of a late race safety car period to pit for fresh rubber and charge to a 12th placed finish during the final race of the weekend. The #7 Plus Fitness Racing entry dropped a few places at the start, falling back from his 14th placed grid position, but he managed to meticulously work his way back up and knock on the door of another Top 10 finish.
Simona De Silvestro finished 23rd following a challenging afternoon. The #78 Team Harvey Norman driver found herself on the inside at turn one on the opening lap, which then led to contact with team-mate Michael Caruso. The subsequent suspension damage, along with a 15 second penalty applied in De Silvestro's first pit stop, left the Swiss driver one lap down and unable to move back up the order.
Michael Caruso concluded a horror weekend with the #23 Drive Racing entry taken out late in Sunday's 200km race. Caruso was battling with the Erebus of Anton de Pasquale when the Nissan was forced off the track and into a tyre barrier at high speed. Despite the Altima sustaining heavy damage in the incident, the team has confirmed that it will not need to head back to the workshop before the next round in Ipswich.
The Nissan Motorsport Supercars and Mack transporters will now stay in Queensland ahead of the next round of the Championship at the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint, July 20-22.
#15 CASTROL RACING
"We certainly have proven we have the one lap pace. We did our absolute best to nurse it and ensure the tyre didn't go off. I believe 7th is the absolute best we could have achieved today. We know where the other guys are faster, so we can look at improving our own areas. So we've got a clear focus on where we need to get better."
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING
"It was a bit of an average race for us. I got caught up in some other people's drama. I got a bent lower arm, which made the day difficult. From then on, it was a case of survival and getting to the end. We pitted under the safety car and managed to pass a few cars towards the end of the race. Looking forward to the next round in Ipswich now."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN
"It was a bit of a messy first lap. I had an ok start but somebody got into the side of me and I had to have a big lift on the front straight. Then I made the decision to head to the inside and had to bail out. I crossed the apron and accidentally hit Michael and ruined his race. It was a split decision that wasn't the right one. We caught up on some people with good pace, but I can't make those sorts of mistakes in the future."
#23 DRIVE RACING
"I unfortunately got turned around at turn one by Simona at the start, which set the tone of our race. We trucked on doing what we could do, but then with a handful of laps to go we got taken out. To be taken out and have the car sustain significant damage is very disappointing. To leave here with absolutely no championship points is hard to take, but that's motor racing. I knew he (Anton) was going to come across, that's why I covered. I thought we could of had a nice battle towards the end of the race, but that wasn't the case."