News

TOP FIVE HIGHLIGHTS HEIMGARTNER’S BEND EXPERIENCE

  • August 26, 2019

Andre Heimgartner’s time at the OTR SuperSprint at the weekend was highlighted by a top five finish in Saturday’s race aboard the #7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima.

The Kelly Racing pilot started Saturday well by charging through all three qualifying sessions to ultimately start the race from the third row on the grid.

After picking up a spot in the opening laps, the 24 year old who has been the subject of plenty of praise this season put in a calculated race to bring home fifth place and the best result of the four-strong Kelly Racing team for the day.

“Saturday’s race was good for us – it always helps to be starting the race from a good position and we had a really good start as well which felt great,” Heimgartner said.

“We had a good car underneath us both in qualifying and the race which was looking after its tyres pretty well – something that a fair few members of the field were struggling with.

“We just focused on keeping control and driving a measured race and it paid off.

“When it comes to car speed I think we had a bit more than perhaps Frosty who was directly in front of us for a fair bit of the race and it would have been cool to take a shot at that perhaps with some strategy calls, but we decided to play it safe and focus on locking down some good points for the team.

“Overall it was a really good day and we were pleased with the result.”

While Saturday was a strong outing for the Melbourne-based Kiwi, Sunday’s 41 lap outing unfortunately would not go as smoothly.

Heimgartner started the race in 12th and had a good start, advancing to ninth spot before taking an early pit stop at the end of lap five.

This is where things started to go awry, with an issue with the fuel spike not only causing issues in the lane but forcing him to complete a drive through penalty which dropped him to the rear of the field.

From there he did all he could, eventually crossing the line in 20th position despite a penultimate lap altercation with Simona de Silvestro (no action was deemed required by the stewards).

“Sunday was definitely a hard day at the office,” Heimgartner said.

“To start with we didn’t have as good of a time in qualifying, we were up at P8 at the end there but a few last minute times shuffled us back down to P12.

“It still wasn’t an awful starting position and I got a good start to move up to ninth early, but our pit stop on the end of lap five unravelled the race for us as it resulted in a drive through penalty.

“I did all that I could, but when you are that far back it is a bit tricky and I was just trying to stay out of trouble for a lot of it.

“We managed to get it up to P20 but unfortunately had some contact with Simona at the end there which you never want to happen.

“Even though Sunday was not ideal, we have a lot to take away from it and from Saturday as well which will stand us in good stead as we turn our attention towards my home event – the ITM Auckland SuperSprint – next month.”

Heimgartner and Kelly Racing will next be on-track for the TCR Australia Series with the Shannons Nationals at Winton Motor Raceway across August 30-September 1 before they had over the ditch to New Zealand with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint (13-15 September).

For more on Andre Heimgartner, visit www.andreheimgartner.com