01 MAR 2021
Positive signs after first event of the year for Kelly Grove Racing
The Supercars Championship season-opening Mount Panorama 500 event continued on Sunday in Bathurst. After a solid performance from Penrite Racing and NED Whisky Racing in Saturday's race, the team worked overnight to further unlock some single lap qualifying pace from the Kelly Grove Racing Ford Mustangs with the aim of securing a place in Sunday's Top-Ten Shootout.
The morning kicked off with a 20-minute qualifying session with the ten quickest cars proceeding to the Shootout. The initial signs were positive as Dave and André hovered around the tenth place cut off in the early stages of qualifying. Dave then put in an excellent lap which was quick enough for P7 at the time.
In the closing stages both drivers bolted on green tyres and gave it one last crack. Dave had to abort his final lap after dropping off the pace in the first sector, but fortunately his previous lap time was quick enough for P9. André crossed the line in his NED Whisky Racing Mustang and just clinched his position in the top-ten with his lap time putting him P10.
The team made a few minor adjustments to the cars for the Top-Ten Shootout, however they couldn't cure the fact that the race track had become extremely dirty and slippery between qualifying and the shootout. The track cleaned up after each shootout lap but it ultimately disadvantaged Dave and André who were the first two drivers to make their laps. Dave's lap kept him in P9 and André remained P10.
When the lights went out for the race start, André was like lightening off the line in the #7 NED Whisky car and jumped as high as P8 before settling into P9 for the majority of the race. Dave dropped back a couple of positions on the start as he continues to learn his new Ford Mustang Supercar.
Dave took an early undercut pit stop strategy to get himself into clean air for the first stint while André went long. Both cars met up with each other for the second stint and at the chequered flag André was P9 and Dave crossed the line P11.
The team is now looking forward to improving the cars over the next few weeks as preparations begin for the Penrite Oil Sandown Super Sprint.
André Heimgartner, Driver, #7 NED Whisky Racing
"Overall it was a positive day, we had both cars in the top-ten shootout which is great, and it was my first time in a Bathurst Top-10 Shootout which is a cool milestone, but we still have a long way to go with the cars, just making them a little nicer to drive, tidying up bits and pieces here and there."
"The field is unbelievably close in this category so it's all the final 1% things that are what will get us further up the grid. A P9 and P15 at the end of the weekend isn't too bad but obviously we could have done better and should have had both races in the top-ten but could have been a hell of a lot worse."
"We'll head home and look at what we learnt from this weekend and keep pushing forward and make the car better for Sandown."
David Reynolds, Driver, #26 Penrite Racing
"This weekend has been really positive for me, I feel like I've settled into the team really well, I'm enjoying the vibe and things are heading in the right direction."
"We never really had a base to start from, you don't get a lot of test miles to see where you're at. We're ninth and eleventh which is pretty much mid-pack, is it good? It's ok but we want to be up the pointy end, now that we've done a few miles and I'm feeling more comfortable in the car, we think we know what we need so we've just got to go and build it."
"We can still be positive with this weekend, I think we did improve over the three days, we did make the car a bit better here and there but we didn't fix our main problem with the car and we weren't going to fix it here this weekend so we just need to work out exactly what that problem is and work on a fix. That's going to take time, it's not going to happen overnight."
"But overall I'm feeling good, I'm feeling confident in the team and looking forward to digging into all of the data over the next few weeks as we get ready for the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint."