04 MAR 2018
Top 10 in Adelaide for Nissan
Nissan Motorsport has claimed a competitive Top 10 finish today at the Adelaide 500, which concluded this afternoon with a 78 lap race around the East Parklands circuit.
The four-car Nissan squad overcame the challenges of yesterday's opening 250km event to display both one-lap speed and genuine race pace across the day. Michael Caruso and Andre Heimgartner both featured in the morning's Top 10 Shootout, with Caruso's #23 Drive Racing Altima leading home the Nissan squad in ninth position at the end of the day.
Earlier in the day, Michael Caruso lined up 9th on the grid, following a clean and tidy lap in the shootout. The #23 Drive Racing entry made a clean getaway and entered the pits on lap 16 for his first scheduled stop. Overcoming traffic and managing his tyres, Caruso finished the race as the leading Nissan inside the Top 10. The result is a positive sign for the #23 Drive Racing entry heading into the next round at Albert Park, which traditionally had been kind to him.
Rick Kelly started this afternoon' race from 16th on the grid after a challenging qualifying session. The #15 Castrol Racing driver elected to run a long opening stint, which elevated him up to second in the order. After pitting on lap 24, Kelly's afternoon became a hard slog of conserving tyres and fuel, as he finished in 14th.
After working on set up overnight, Simona De Silvestro took advantage of her improved Altima during the race. After qualifying 25th on the grid, the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver showed good speed and made consistent progress over the event's 78 laps. Avoiding drama and making clean passes, the Swiss driver greeted the flag and crossed the line in 18th.
In a remarkable achievement, Andre Heimgartner reached today's Top 10 Shootout in only his second qualifying appearance with Nissan Motorsport. The #7 Plus Fitness driver set off on a super aggressive shootout lap and started today's race in 10th. Despite showing such promise, Heimgartner's charge was ended early with an engine issue. The crew worked hard to ensure he was classified a finisher though, as he crossed the line in 25th.
The next event in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is the Australian Grand Prix, March 22-25.
Michael Caruso - #23 Drive Racing
"We started where we finished, but of course it's never as straightforward as that. A Top 10 is nice, but for myself and the team, we expect to be further up the field. So we'll go back work on things to come back stronger at the Australian Grand Prix. The race went to plan in terms of strategy and the driving side of things. The new car appears to be a fan favourite too. The Drive.com.au teal is really growing on me. So we just need to make the car as fast as it looks."
Rick Kelly - #15 Castrol Racing
"We certainly had a crappy weekend in total. The high was obviously the shootout yesterday, where we felt like we extracted a good amount of the car's potential. The low was immediately after the start of the race when I made an error and hit the wall.
"Today we didn't get the most out of the car and driver in qualifying. We threw a lot at the car to try and make it better in the morning's qualifying session and it went and made it worse. During a long race like what we had today, you can dial issues out of a car, but we suffered a radio failure from lap one. So we had to live with the car as it was all afternoon. We dealt with it as best as we could and got to the end of the race."
Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman
"It was an okay race for us. We had pretty good pace all afternoon. I just need to figure out how to get the best out of myself and the car over a qualifying lap. Not nailing that one lap is killing our races. It was great working with Chris for the first time and today the car felt pretty good. So it just took a bit to get to the point where I felt comfortable with it. I'm really looking forward to heading to the Grand Prix next."
Andre Heimgartner - #7 Plus Fitness Racing
"Making the shootout was a great way to start the day today. It was also a good comeback from the issues we faced yesterday. It should have been a platform for delivering a strong result, however, we had some engine dramas in the race which pretty much ended our day. It started to misfire and then we were forced into the pits to get it looked at. It's unfortunate but it is what it is. We get to move to the Australian Grand Prix with confidence knowing I can pick things up pretty quickly with the team."