Challenging weekend for Andre Heimgartner at Townsville
It was a difficult weekend for Andre Heimgartner at the NTI Townsville SuperSprint, after a chaotic first race on Saturday which caused significant damage to the #7 Mustang and a DNF.
The Kelly Racing team utilised Saturday’s practice sessions to better understand set up options and the tyre degradation. Heimgartner managed to get through into the second qualifying session but missed out on the top ten shootout.
The Kiwi started the race from P19, however it was cut short on lap one after he was caught in a pile up at Turn 2. Van Gisbergen and De Pasquale caused a road block leaving the NED Whisky Mustang nowhere to go, ultimately causing significant damage to the front of the car. Heimgartner spent nine laps in the pits as the team worked hard to repair the damage. Although the team managed to get the #7 Mustang back on track, it was evident there were still issues and so the team decided to call It a day and retire Heimgartner’s car to prevent further damage.
“Saturday was such a shame, it’s always a bit of a bottle neck here at Turn 2. Unfortunately, a few people were facing the wrong way and I was on the outside and couldn’t see what was happening on the inside, which made it difficult to take action and I just didn’t have enough warning to be able to react fast enough,” admitted Heimgartner.
“The car had a fair bit of damage and although we tried getting back out on the track, the team made the call to bring her in so that we didn’t do more damage. Unfortunately, we probably wouldn’t have been in that position though had we qualified better.”
Sunday was straight into two back-to-back qualifying sessions where Heimgartner qualified 18th and 19th respectively. A better start for the Mustang in race 20 saw the 25-year old jump up six positions in the opening lap to move into 12th. The team opted to run a longer stint and put on four new tyres which worked in Andre’s favour, enabling him plenty of pace to see out the end of the race and crossed the line in 14th.
Heimgartner started the final race of the weekend in P19 and managed to get another great start and up two positions by the end of lap one. Again, the Kelly Racing team elected to leave Andre out longer which gave him fresher tyres for the last stint of the race and placed 15th to see out the weekend.
“Sunday was much better, although we still have a bit of work to do with qualifying,” said Heimgartner.
“The first race for us was good, we had a great first lap and picked up a few positions and ended up 14th, which wasn’t too bad considering where we started.
“We tried some things with the car and it seemed to unlock a bit of race pace which was positive. We did well to move up positions for the races, but we’re still a fair way from where we need to be with car setup.
“We’ll regroup and aim to go better this next weekend.”
The Virgin Australia Supercars have five days to prepare, before they are back on track for the second leg of the double header at Townsville.
Saturday 29th August
Practice 1 – 11th
Practice 2 – 17th
Qualifying (Race 19) – 19th
Race 19 – DNF
Sunday 30th August
Qualifying (Race 20) – 18th
Qualifying (Race 21) – 19th
Race 20 – 14th
Race 21 – 15th