22 NOV 2019
Kelly Racing Altimas start their final Supercars round in Newcastle
The Kelly Racing Nissan Altima Supercars have today made their first practice laps of the weekend around the tight and technical Newcastle street circuit for the final round of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship – also the final Supercars Championship round they will compete in.
The Newcastle circuit presents plenty of challenges for the drivers from its blind corners to its bumpy surface and combination or tight and quick corners. During today's practice the team has sampled plenty of different suspension setups with the aim of producing the best possible setup for tomorrow's qualifying and race.
André Heimgartner was the team's top finisher in today's practice. The Plus Fitness Racing crew didn't run green tyres in either of today's sessions and finished practice two in P15, focusing on getting the car balance right before wasting brand new tyres during practice.
Rick Kelly wasn't far behind in the Castrol Racing car but struggled with the car balance even on fresh rubber. Fortunately today's practice gives the team a good indication on what to work on for tomorrow's qualifying and race.
Garry Jacobson's crew on the Rabble.club Car trialled a bunch of different setups during today's running and despite no heroic lap times, the crew is confident in the balance and direction of the car.
Simona De Silvestro had decent car speed in the team Harvey Norman entry during the first practice session, however changes ahead of the final session of the day seemed to upset the car's balance and take it out of the window.
The team hits the track again tomorrow for qualifying at 10:50am and race one at 4:15pm.
Andre Heimgartner, Plus Fitness Racing #7
"I think today has been pretty positive, we made some good changes from practice one, the car was really disconnected and hard to drive so we tried out a few things and found the direction we want to go so tomorrow we'll run some greens. We didn't run any today just because we want to save some tyres for the two top ten shootouts that we have this weekend, hopefully we can be in at least one of them, if not both."
"Tomorrow will be good, we'll chuck some greens on and see where we end up but overall I think we've made good progress today and happy with where we're at right now even if the timing sheets don't look too flash."
Rick Kelly, Castrol Racing #15
"One of the things that I really paid attention to when I got out of the car was that we were only half a second off P1, so it's not a lot but we're a long way down the timing sheets. The car definitely doesn't feel like it's where it needs to be in a couple of key areas on the track and that's really costing us."
"The other thing here is when someone goes off here or down the escape road you get a yellow flag which is normal but they're blind corners and you can't see what the flag is for until you're there so you can't stay committed, I'm sure a lot of people have the same story but you rarely get a clean lap in around here."
"Getting a good lap in on green tyres without any yellow flags for qualifying tomorrow is going to be the big challenge, if we qualify back where we currently are after that practice session it's going to be a tough day so we've got to have a good look at where we can fix the car, we had really good tyres today so that's out of the question, it's just working on the setup of the car."
Garry Jacobson, Rabble.club Racing #3
"As a team for car three we're trying to push a bit harder now and ask more out of the car, we're trialling a few different setup changes, some of them worked, some of them didn't. We got some good reading out of practice which is what it's for, if it was qualifying today I'd be disappointed but our focus is on understanding the direction we need to go in."
"I think we've found something with the lateral grip change, now I'm probably just chasing a bit of rear grip. We'll throw some changes at it overnight and execute our game plan tomorrow."
Simona De Silvestro, Team Harvey Norman #78
"We tried to do something different in that last practice session because we had a lot of understeer but it actually just made it worse, it was definitely a difficult session wrestling with the car a lot. We just tuned it a little bit out of the window."
"But it was good to try something different but definitely the way we went today wasn't good so we'll reset for tomorrow and see how it goes."