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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  L&H 500 Phillip Island


Stone Brothers Racing
September 13, 2009

Alex Davison and Shane van Gisbergen finished tenth in today’s L&H 500; it was a great recovering from the two IRWIN/SP Tools Racing drivers after complications earlier on in the race. John McIntyre and Daniel Gaunt crossed the line in 17th after a long and gruelling 113 laps.

The 500km event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit produced plenty of action with numerous incidents and two safety car periods, a lead change on the final lap added to the excitement when Garth Tander passed Craig Lowndes for the win.

On the first lap Davison got a blinder of a start passing three cars by the first turn. During the following laps Davison applied pressure and was hot on the tail of FPR’s Steven Richards and by Lap 5 had passed the #6 Falcon to sit 3rd.

On Lap 6 the first Safety Car was deployed when the #111 car experienced a massive engine failure. Nine laps later Davison’s competitive pace was still proving strong until a loose wheel caused him to drift of the track, the issue forcing a premature pit stop throwing the team’s strategy to the wind.

The #9 Falcon re-entered the race a lap down but a Safety Car Period on Lap 22 resurrected van Gisbergen and Davison’s chances. During the laps under Safety Car Pit Lane was in full swing with most teams choosing to take their first fuel and tyre stops. At the restart Davison was sitting 22nd and McIntyre 17th.

On Lap 52 Davison finished his double-stint, van Gisbergen taking over until the end of the race. The SBR pits were full of activity when only two laps later the #4 car came in for fuel, tyres and a driver change.

By Lap 81 van Gisbergen had worked his way up to 8th subsequent to a gusty drive in his first stint. Daniel Gaunt was 18th but a lap down after being passed by the race leaders. Both cars made their final stops for fuel and tyres, before crossing the finish line in 10th and 17th.

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #9

“Alex had a wheel come loose and it stuffed up his stint after such a great start. I jumped in we were around 22nd, the steering was a bit bent and we were struggled with grip and pace. It seemed as the though the car wasn’t the same after the issue with the wheel so I just cruised around and managed to pass a couple of cars.

“On my second stint the tyres didn’t seem to be too good, there wasn’t much balance and we were sliding around everywhere but managed to get to the end.”

Alex Davison - Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #9

“I got a great start and soon worked out we had really good pace compared to the guys in front of us. Paul was on the radio pushing me hard to pass Richards so I did that. Then there was the safety car and I was on the back of Will [Davison]. We were hanging in there and then the wheel came loose and that really put an end to our shot at a good result.

“I felt the wheel coming loose at turn two and then when I got to Lukey Heights the wheel had cut itself in half. I went off the road but managed to get back to the pits, we were very lucky to stay on the lead lap, I caught up to the safety car and I got a wave through so we were able to make a pretty good comeback considering.

“Before the wheel issue the car was the best race car I have had all year, Bathurst can’t come soon enough.”

Paul Forgie – Engineer Car #9

“Today started pretty shiny, Alex had a great start and we were running third. We were certainly matching the pace of the two guys up the front but then a wheel come loose for some reason we don’t really know why. I was worried we were being too hard on the tyres but it was clear the wheel had just come loose.

“The car wasn’t quite as good after that so I am not sure if it caused some damage, we still had reasonable speed but it was a hard fight back from the back of the field.”

John McIntyre – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #4

“I think you have to take today as a bit of a hit out for Bathurst really. It’s fair to say I am disappointed that we didn’t finish around where we started and to go a lap down. Part of that was me getting overheated in the car, it was a longer stint than I was originally going to do so I decided not to wear my cool suit and that really nailed me.

“The first enduro you do when you are not a regular driver is a shock to the system.

“I think Daniel did a perfect job, he didn’t put a foot wrong and brought it home in one piece.”

Daniel Gaunt – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #4

“John did a great job in the first part of the race and handed the race over to me when we were in 22nd. I think for John and I to come home in the middle of the field is a great effort.

“Today was my first enduro and I have learnt a lot going into Bathurst so I am really excited for it.”

Wes McDougall – Engineer Car #4

“Towards the end of the stints today both John and Daniel were getting pretty hot in the cockpit with temperatures getting over 50 degrees. The last 10 laps for each of them were tough.

“It was a shame to finish the race a lap down but it’s all a learning curve. Both Daniel and John did a solid job, the car never missed a beat and they kept it on the black stuff all day.”

The Season of Endurance continues at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, NSW on 7-10 October 2009.

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