Slow start for co-drivers
With co-drivers taking the "first stint", two attempts were needed to get the field underway at last weekend's V8 Supercar round at the Gold Coast.
Several cars were damaged and consequently unable to start. This was due to the fact that many of the visiting drivers were not familiar with the difficult to operate V8 Supercar clutch, particularly IndyCar drivers who have rolling starts and the field was diminished before a lap was run.
Championship leader Jamie Whincup, who teamed up with Sebastien Bourdais in their 888 Commodore, won on Saturday. On Sunday, the same problem applied and more cars were sidelined with FPR Falcon driver Will Davison and Mika Salo taking their Falcon to a well-deserved victory.
The battle for the lead between Davison and arch-rival Jamie Whincup was the highlight of the race, with the fact that they used to share a house, having no bearing on their desperation to win.
Going round 13 of 15 at the Yas Marina Circuit in United Arab Emirates Whincup (888 Commodore) leads with 3060 points followed by Mark Winterbottom (FPR Falcon) 2842 and Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes third, 27 points adrift of Winterbottom.
In breaking V8 Supercar news, the Erebus Motorsport/Stone Bros. Racing Alliance will have their AMG-designed E-Class Mercedes-Benz V8 Supercars fitted with a driver safety cell when they make their debut in 2013.
This may set a precedent for other teams in an effort to reduce or, hopefully eliminate, race crash injuries. One sincerely hopes that the iconic race will continue on after 2013, although with a total of only 180,000 spectators over three days, the government will be having a long and close look at its large contribution to the event.
“This event will get its fair hearing as we reconsider and renegotiate as is the normal practice with every event,” Tourism Minister Jan Stuckey, who was a government representative at the Gold Coast, said. It is feared that either the Townsville Street race or the Surfers Paradise event will lose government support after 2013.
STONER IS BACK
Aussie motorcycle fans will have the opportunity to see Australia’s three-time world Moto GP champion Casey Stoner back in action following surgery on an ankle injury.
Stoner will be back at his favourite track, Victoria’s Phillip Island circuit, where he has dominated for the past few years.
However, he will not be the only Australian at Phillip Island this weekend. Fellow Aussie Chris McLaren received a late call-up and will make his Moto GP debut driving for the Avinita Blusens Team. To recognise and honour his contribution and success in Moto GP, particularly at Phillip Island, the owners of the famous circuit have renamed the third turn the “Casey Stoner Corner”.
The announcement was made on Thursday at a press conference attended by Stoner and world media. Stoner now joins fellow Australian motorcycle racing legends Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan as owners of certain sections of the exciting high-speed 4.4km track.
Sadly, a fellow World 250/350cc Motorcycle Champion Gregg Hansford lost his life at Phillip Island in a Two Litre Touring Car race in October 2008 when he ran off the track in turn one of the opening lap, hitting an infield tyre wall before his car bounced back on to the track.
The car was hit at high speed in the driver’s door and Hansford was killed instantly. At age 43, the hugely talented racer and dear friend left us much too soon. One of his sons, Ryan, now races V8 Utes and is usually at the pointy end of the race. Hansford was Larry Perkins’ co-driver in a Commodore not long before his tragic death when the pair won the Bathurst 1000.
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Number one: Jamie Whincup celebrates with co-driver Sebastian Bourdais of France after winning Saturday’s V8 Supercars Championship Series at the Gold Coast Street Circuit.