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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Clipsal 500


Stone Brothers Racing
March 22, 2009

It was a frustrating day for the SBR team, after finishing with strong positional gains on track in yesterday’s race, the SP Tools Racing #9 car started 12th and the IRWIN Racing #4 car lined up 26th, due to the new qualifying start rule introduced by V8 Supercars for this years championship series.

In front of a huge crowd, in excess of 270,000 over the four day race weekend, the SBR Ford FG Falcons battled it out for valuable championship points in tough conditions. A slow start from van Gisbergen in Race 2 lost him a few positions in the first lap putting him back into 15th before an early safety car period interrupted the race to remove Jack Perkin’s car after an incident at turn 8.

In the following laps Shane managed to fight his way through to be inside the top ten with lap times matching the speed of the leading drivers. Encouragement from his engineer, Paul Forgie, helped to keep Shane alert and focused for the chase into his second stint.

Paul Forgie – Race Engineer Car #9 (In Car Radio – Lap 30)
“Good work, get back into your rhythm and make every corner count.”

After two more restarts Shane communicated to the SBR crew complications with the throttle reporting it was sticking.

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver SP Tools Racing Car #9
“The race was okay today, I stuffed up the start and let a few guys through but we went on a bit of a charge, the car was awesome and the guys did a great job preparing it. We were on the case and passed a lot of cars and at the end of our first stint we were looking good. We managed to keep the pace then later in the second stint the butterfly had bent so it was carrying throttle into the corners so I couldn’t pull it up and it wouldn’t turn, I had to clutch it every corner which cost us a lot of time.”

IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison experienced another drama filled day in the #4 FG Falcon struggling with the car as well as a foot injury sustained during Saturday’s race. On lap 44 after a perfect pit-stop Alex clipped the tyre wall at turn one causing the centre of his front left tyre to shred forcing him to return to the pits the following lap.

Once Alex returned to the track he managed to post his fastest time of 1:23.7722 on lap 55. The IRWIN Racing car went a lap down after the race leader, Jamie Whincup, passed the #4 car on the main straight. In the later stages of the race Alex reported he was struggling with severe foot pain and the overall handling of the car. The race telemetry alerted the team to an engine problem with SBR’s engineers diagnosing there was an issue with the alternator. As Alex lost track position throughout the following laps it was decided to bring the car into the pits for the remainder of the race before re-entering to complete the last lap for championship points.

Alex Davison – Driver IRWIN Racing Car #4

“I made a mistake and clipped the tire bundle at turn one, I was behind another car and sort of blinded a bit by it and clipped it and cut the tire and we had to come in a change it. Then not long after the alternator had a problem and the battery started going flat so we had to stop, we charged it up enough at the end so I could do the last lap.

“My foot is not so good at the moment, apart from that I feel brand new, there wasn’t an issue at all as far as comfort levels go. I felt more acclimatised today; my cool suit worked the whole race so there were no dramas fitness wise.”

Davison’s debut for SBR wasn’t what the team or Alex himself had hoped for.

David Stuart – Team Manager
“These cars are unique compared to anything else anybodies ever driven, anybody that comes into the category from open wheelers to Porches will have a small period of adjustment. Alex has the determination and the ability and he will be harder on himself than we could ever be, he’s determined to make it work here at SBR. I was with his brother Will in his first race in ’06 here at Clipsal and he had the same sort of results but look at him today he’s standing on the podium so I believe Alex has every bit the potential that Will has as long as he doesn’t beat himself up too much we can enjoy celebrating a podium with him in a few more years.”

A tough race weekend for the team ended with SP Tools Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen finishing equal 6th on 168 points while IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison finished equal 17th with 90 points overall.

Ross Stone – Team Principal
“It was a tough race and a tough place today. To have two 250km races to start off the season is always hard but I think we can take some positives out of it being that we have really good car speed and great chemistry within the team. We will move forward from here.”

The SBR crew will stay in Adelaide to work on the #4 and #9 cars on Monday in the lead up to the ‘Non-Championship’

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