20 MAY 2018
Two Nissans in Top 5 at Winton
Nissan Motorsport has backed up yesterday's victory with a dual Top 5 finish in this afternoon's final race of the Winton SuperSprint. The result ensures the four-car squad completes the entire weekend finishing inside the Top 4 of every session.
Rick Kelly's victory yesterday represented an important milestone for the team, as the result was the culmination of an aggressive development period for the squad. Keen to back up that performance with another strong showing, the #15 Castrol Racing driver lined up an impressive 3rd on the grid for this afternoon's 67 lap race around Winton Raceway. A clever fuel strategy enabled Kelly to leapfrog Michael Caruso during the mid-part of the race, with Kelly narrowly missing out on returning to the podium at the conclusion of 200km of racing.
Michael Caruso has completed his strongest weekend of the season today. The #23 Drive Racing driver finished this afternoon's 200km event in 5th, as he backed up yesterday's 6th placed result. Qualifying on the second row of the grid, Caruso leapt to 2nd by the first corner. Before eventually dropping back to his equal highest placed finish of 2018. The next round of the Championship is at Darwin's Hidden Valley - the location of Caruso's 2016 race win.
Andre Heimgartner has finished just outside the Top 10 today, as the #7 Plus Fitness Racing driver crossed the line in 11th after a busy afternoon of racing. The 22 year old started Race 14 of the Championship from 12th on the grid. Battling his way in heavy traffic, Heimgartner only just missed out on repeating his Top 10 performance from the previous round in Perth.
Simona De Silvestro has concluded a challenging weekend with a 23rd placed finish in this afternoon's race. The #78 Team Harvey Norman driver started today's event from 21st on the grid. A pair of long stints in the race unfortunately didn't enable the Swiss driver to find the clean air required to charge up the order.
The next event in the Championship is the Crownbet Darwin Triple Crown, June 15-17.
#15 CASTROL RACING
"It's very promising to get a solid weekend from start to finish. We had a great day yesterday and a very strong day today, which is important for us to achieve. Now we have moved up to 8th in the Championship too. If we continue to do what we're doing then we'll keep moving forward. Yesterday we won the race without the quickest car and today there were just a few cars that had the edge on us. So we certainly know where our weaknesses are and we can go away and further work on that."
#23 DRIVE RACING
"We got a good start and spent the early part of the race in 2nd. It's a shame we weren't able to hold onto it. It's been a solid weekend with two good results for my car, so we'll head to Darwin now and enjoy the sun. We have achieved some success up there, but just getting in the car is motivating in its own right. We'll keep working on the path that we're on and hopefully have a good showing up north."
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING
"It's good to have the team up the front and hopefully we can join them at the pointy end in the next one. For me, it was a difficult race this afternoon. We suffered from a lack of pace in the middle there, but we had fun racing hard in the mid-pack. Qualifying is super important and today I didn't nail that session. So we'll look at how we can work on that before we head to Darwin."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN
"We had good speed but didn't have the clean air to really take advantage of it. It all comes down to qualifying. We haven't been able to be consistent in qualifying and that has hurt us in races. Chris and I will look over the data and regroup ahead of Darwin. It was really excited for the team to have such a strong weekend. It's also really motivating for me heading into the next part of the season."
"We just finished a fantastic weekend for the team. Obviously the win yesterday was the highlight, but to back it up with a very strong 4th and 5th this afternoon is terrific. We didn't do a lot wrong today but there were just 3 cars a little bit faster than us. We'll go home and reflect on that. An outstanding weekend from the drivers, crew and engineers. Looking forward to the test day in a few weeks and then we're off to Darwin. We've got some good things in the pipeline to keep working on during that time. Everyone is really positive and looking forward to the next one."