After a stand-out appearance there last year, Andre Heimgartner is counting the days to the upcoming Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 after a Rabble.Club Sandown 500 weekend which was a lot more valuable than may have appeared on the surface.
Heimgartner and co-driver Aaren Russell drove the #7 ACE Kangan Nissan Motorsport Altima to 14th position in today’s 500km race despite Russell being turned around by another competitor while in sixth position.
The result follows on from an impressive Saturday which saw Heimgartner qualify the car in 6th position for the first of the two ‘races for the grid’, with Russell then taking the #7 to victory in the ‘co-drivers’ rain and hail-affected race before Heimgartner finished sixth in the ‘main drivers’’ final stoush for the Sandown 500 grid positions.
“Our weekend started well, on Friday we focused on getting as much car speed engineered into the car as possible while getting Aaren comfortable at the wheel before coming out on Saturday and giving it our all across the extended qualifying format for today’s race,” Heimgartner explained.
“Aaren did a great job in his ‘race for the grid’ to put us on pole for the main driver’s grid race. I wouldn’t say I was overly happy with my result on Saturday because when you start on pole and then finish 6th after getting muscled back it is a bit hard to be; but the big picture is that it was not a bad place to start the race on Sunday and that is what we had to focus on.
“Aaren was doing great in his stint early in the race and holding his own in 6th position, only to be turned around by Will Brown which dropped us all the way back to 20th which was disappointing. He put his head down though and worked hard for the rest of his time in the car before I hopped in and did all I could to finish as high up the order as we could.
“Fourteenth doesn’t truly reflect the capability that we had and that the car had, and the confidence we have built as a unit this weekend between Aaren and myself and the team overall.
“That is what I am focusing on now as we head to Bathurst – the car is fast and we have done a lot of great work this weekend which I think will allow us to head to the Mountain feeling strong and ready to do battle.”
Andre Heimgartner will next be on-track with Nissan Motorsport and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, being held across October 4-7. He will once again be joined by Aaren Russell in the driving duties for the #7 Nissan Motorsport entry.
For more on Andre Heimgartner, visit www.andreheimgartner.com