Andre Heimgartner has broken through for a podium finish at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint this weekend.
With a third-place finish in Saturday’s race, Heimgartner secured his second Supercars podium result and his first as a solo driver (following the third place he achieved at the 2017 Gold Coast 600 as Tim Slade’s co-driver).
The #7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima driver had started on the second row of the grid for the 120km/27 lap race after qualifying fourth and while he was jumped by his Kelly Racing team boss Rick Kelly at the start, with great car speed he was able to get that spot back through the pit stops amidst a strong race that saw him advance to the podium.
“To be on the podium on Saturday was just fantastic,” Heimgartner said.
“It is a brilliant reward for my sponsors and the entire team, and I am so happy with how it all came together. I was even catching the front-running Mustangs at one point there, but the safety car put paid to that. Even so, after struggling for the past few rounds to find balance in the cars, to finally be turning that around and have a fast car underneath me is really great.
“The points and the result means a lot for the team and the sponsors, all together it was just an amazing feeling.”
Come Sunday’s race, the 23 year old would unfortunately struggle with a lack of good tyres and car speed, qualifying for and then finishing the 200km/45 lap battle in 13th place while struggling with car speed.
While Sunday may not have matched the excitement of Saturday, the weekend’s results have seen the Melbourne-based Kiwi more up to 14th place in the championship with only small margins to those ahead of him on the ladder.
“After the highs of yesterday’s podium there is no doubting the fact that today’s results were disappointing – we used up a lot of our good tyres yesterday, we didn’t get qualifying right and then we didn’t have the car to move forward in the race,” he said.
“Not having the speed and especially so in comparison to yesterday was very frustrating.
“The upside is that we have moved up a bit in the leader board with the next few positions not that far away, and today still doesn’t take away from yesterday’s results, so there is still a lot to smile about.”
Heimgartner will next be on-track with Kelly Racing and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship across May 2-4, for the Pirtek Perth SuperNight event.