Heimgartner pleased with first round of the season
The iconic Mountain held the first round of the Supercars Championship, a world-first in the Series where the Bathurst track is usually only visited once annually. This year though, teams will have visited Mt Panorama twice for the 2021 season.
A new year, a new teammate, some new crew and a different track to kickstart the season – Heimgartner can walk away chuffed with his efforts over the weekend.
The 25-year-old notched a new milestone under his belt too, claiming his first Top Ten Shootout at The Mountain. The Kiwi showed pace all weekend, although not quite quick enough to see him at the pointy end of the grid.
Battling rear stability and car balance on Saturday meant the NED Whisky Mustang was only quick enough for 14th. A good start off the line saw the #7 Mustang pick up three positions in the opening lap though and settled into P11 by the second corner.
When Heimgartner returned to the track after his second pitstop, the NED Racing driver had a spin on cold tyres and made an un-safe re-join to the track and was handed a drive-through penalty. Fortunately though, Heimgartner was able to recover and crossed the line in P15.
“Unfortunately, a few things went wrong Saturday, there was the bingle at the start with Courtney with him bumping me off and then the mistake by me re-joining, I got a drive through penalty. The fact that we finished 15th after all of that is a bit of a blessing all things considered!” said Heimgartner.
“There were a lot of other people that didn’t finish or had incidents which is unfortunate, so for us to walk away with that result after the race we had was kind of lucky.”
Come Sunday’s qualifying session, Heimgartner came out firing and managed to just squeeze himself a spot in the Top Ten Shootout. Unfortunately, the track had become dirty and slippery between qualifying and the Shootout and Andre remained in P10 for the start of the race.
The Kiwi got another great start, climbing as high as 8th before settling into P9 for majority of the race. Heimgartner had a clean race and managed to cross the line inside the top ten in 9th.
“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,” said Heimgartner.
“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 P15 and P9 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.”
The Supercars next take on the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint March 20-21.