Impressive comeback for Heimgartner at The Bend
Andre Heimgartner has found himself on the podium after an impressive weekend at The Bend, turning heads in a well-deserved comeback round. The Kiwi racer was on a mission to redeem himself after previous rounds didn’t quite give the results he’d hoped.
The 25-year old came out firing in the practice sessions, placing fifth and eighth in wet conditions. Come qualifying, Heimgartner ran an impressive lap to put him through to the Top Fifteen Shootout, where he then placed tenth ahead of the race.
Heimgartner got off to a good start and jumped into ninth position, before a racing incident with the leaders enabled the #7 Mustang to take advantage and slot into P7; all within the opening lap. The NED Whisky pit early in the race, which proved beneficial putting Heimgartner in the mix with the front runners. Just falling short of a podium, although close behind Bryce Fullwood; Heimgartner crossed the line in fourth.
“It was great to come out firing on Saturday. I think we really set the pace early on and qualified well to put ourselves in a good position come the race,” said Heimgartner.
“We had a good race strategy, pitting early which then gave us some good speed to undercut some people and then hold them off in the end. I made a small mistake getting past Mostert which meant Bryce got position in front of me and he went on to finish in P3. I think we could have gotten on the podium had that not of happened, but overall it was a really great start to the weekend.”
Heimgartner’s pace continued into Sunday, where he qualified fifth and eighth respectively. Starting the second race of the weekend from the third row of the grid, Heimgartner got another solid start, although it was his impressive move on Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert in the second stint of the race that sealed the deal. With only a few laps remaining, the Kiwi took advantage of a gap down the inside of Scott and Chaz and claimed a spot on the podium in P2.
In the final race of the weekend and starting from eighth, it wasn’t long before the NED Whisky had picked off some positions and was in sixth. Unfortunately, in the midst of Heimgartner attempting to overtake Shane Van Gisbergen, he was spun off the road putting him to the rear of the grid. Remarkably, Andre was able to recover and made his way back through the field to finish seventh and finishing second overall for the weekend.
“I’m pretty happy with this weekend overall,” admitted Heimgartner.
“We ended up second overall on Championship points for the round which is really good considering our last few rounds.
“I’m so pleased that we were able to bag a trophy, an incredible achievement for the whole team. It’s a shame we got spun around in the second race as I think we definitely had the pace; the car was fast, but unfortunately that’s racing! It was a good recovery to still end up seventh.
“Overall, it was a great weekend and it was great to be able to give the guys some strong results. It gives us plenty of confidence heading into next weekend where the track will be a different layout, but still quite similar.
“I can’t wait to get back to it!”
The Supercars have five days to turn the cars around before taking on the shorter West circuit 26-27th September at The Bend.
Saturday 19th September
Practice 1 – 5th
Practice 2 – 8th
Qualifying (Race 25) – 4th
Race 25 – 4th
Sunday 20th September
Qualifying (Race 26) – 5th
Qualifying (Race 27) – 8th
Race 26 – 2nd
Race 27 – 7th