29 JUL 2017
Nissan scores a Top 8 finish in Ipswich
Nissan Motorsport has recorded a strong Top 10 finish in Race 15 at the Ipswich SuperSprint today. Rick Kelly was the first Nissan home in 8th place and showed promising pace ahead of tomorrow's 200km event.
Today consisted of a 45-minute practice session, 15-minute qualifying, and 120km race. A Nissan Altima featured inside the Top eight during each session. Here's how the day went down:
PRACTICE WRAP UP
Michael Caruso's session was delayed by 15 minutes when an electrical gremlin left him stranded on the track, but the team did a great job to send him back out and provide the #23 Nissan NISMO entry with as much track time as possible. After a few tweaks to improve the Altima's corner exit, Caruso's green tyre run netted him the 7th fastest time in the session. Just behind him, with the 8th fastest time, was the #15 Sengled Racing entry of Rick Kelly. After spending most of the session inside the Top 3, Kelly demonstrated good speed on fresh rubber while battling niggling understeer. Todd Kelly sat inside the Top 10 for the early part of today's 45-minute session, but a green tyre run didn't deliver the expected results for the #7 carsales Racing Nissan. Kelly's 22nd fastest time led to some changes ahead of qualifying. Simona De Silvestro's growing confidence around the Queensland Raceway circuit was on full display in the morning's practice session, as the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver set her fastest time of the weekend and the 25th overall.
QUALIFYING WRAP UP
Rick Kelly's consistent weekend continued as he qualified an impressive 6th for the afternoon's 120km race. The #15 Sengled Racing driver looked strong throughout the short 15-minute qualifying session and continued the form that had seen him sit near the pointy end of every session this weekend. Michael Caruso reiterated his strong practice form with an impressive 8th placed qualifying run. A lack of balance in the #7 carsales Racing Altima was the issue for Todd Kelly and resulted in him qualifying in 23rd. Simona De Silvestro continued improving her times with a 1:09.66 run. The #78 Team Harvey Norman driver qualified in 27th for the afternoon's race.
RACE 15 WRAP UP
Starting from the 3rd row, Rick Kelly made a strong getaway and stayed in 6th until his pit stop on lap 11. This early stop would make it difficult for Kelly to fend off competitors with fresher rubber towards the end of the race. The #15 Sengled Racing Altima was still able to cross the line an impressive 8th - ensuring that Kelly has not spent a session this weekend outside the Top 8. Michael Caruso suffered a difficult start from 8th on the grid, which resulted in the #23 Nissan NISMO entry dropping down to 13th by the end of the first lap. Caruso made his pit stop on lap 14 and crossed the line at the end of the race in 15th. Todd Kelly charged from 23rd to 17th in the opening few laps. An off track excursion resulted in the #7 carsales Racing Altima dropping back down the order, forcing Kelly to charge through again. After 39 laps of hard racing, Kelly finished in 18th. The tone of Simona De Silvestro's afternoon was determined the instant the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver got caught up in a competitor's accident on the opening lap. With severe steering damage compromising her race, De Silvestro was eventually forced to complete an unscheduled stop two laps from the flag. The Swiss star driver crossed the line in 27th.
Tomorrow's action at the Ipswich SuperSprint consists of a 20-minute qualifying session and 200km race to conclude Round 8 of the 2017 Supercars Championship.
Rick Kelly - #15 Sengled Racing
"We are happy with our one-lap speed, but you can't help but leave the race a little disappointed when you have a 5th in your grasp. We didn't quite have the pace to match the guys who pitted late in the race, so we've got a bit of work to do with the race package. Our qualifying speed is not bad, so if we can sort our longer runs, hopefully, we can finish higher."
Michael Caruso - #23 Nissan NISMO
"We got bumped off the road early on and lost a few spots, but ultimately we didn't have the speed in the car today. It's disappointing because we did a reasonable job in qualifying. So we'll look at how to improve on that overnight. I'd much rather go better in the race than in qualifying."
Todd Kelly - #7 carsales Racing
"I didn't want to start the race where I did, so I tried to pass 20 cars in the race. I was pushing hard; we got by a lot of them, then ended up going off and losing most of those places. I was probably trying to be too ambitious, but the car certainly had the pace. The goal will be to do a better job in qualifying because I think the car is speedy enough to get a good result."
Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman
"It was a really annoying day for us. We got caught up in someone else's accident on the first lap, and that caused a lot of damage to my steering. I was left hand down all the way for the rest of the race. I couldn't get the car going after the pitstop, and then the tyre let go right at the end of the race. So overall, it was a challenging day, but we get to come back tomorrow and try again."