04 NOV 2018
Kiwi local Heimgartner impresses at Auckland SuperSprint
Kiwi local Andre Heimgartner has scored an impressive result in the final race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park today.
The #7 Plus Fitness driver completed the race in eighth place after a strong qualifying performance that saw him make the Top 10 Shootout.
The only sour note for Heimgartner was a first lap incident with Erebus driver Anton de Pasquale, which will be reviewed by the stewards post-race.
Michael Caruso was the next best Nissan finisher, coming home 17th after a difficult qualifying session. The Industrial Athlete Nissan picked up debris in qualifying, hurting his lap time and started back in 18th. Caruso pitted early, hoping for a Safety Car, but it never arrived. His pace, however, was strong and he is looking forward to heading to Newcastle in three weeks time.
Simona De Silvestro showed a great turn of speed, qualifying 16th and eventually finishing 18th. The Swiss driver felt that tyre life cost her more places, however, after a difficult Saturday, was happy to see her fortunes turn around.
Rick Kelly's Castrol Nissan was out of contention on the opening lap after being the innocent victim in someone else's incident. Kelly was shoved wide at the hairpin on Lap 1 which bent his steering, making for a long day behind the wheel of his #15 entry.
The final round of the 2019 Supercars Championship will be held on the streets of Newcastle on November 23-25.
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING
"Yeah, it was a good solid day. It's always good to be in the top 10 and then go up a couple of spots," said Andre Heimgartner.
"It was a good day of racing and I'm really happy with it.
"Yesterday was frustrating, getting double stacked in pit lane, so we were able to avoid all of that today. I had clear air and it was a really solid result."
#23 INDUSTRIAL ATHLETE
"We got caught out with debris in qualifying at Turn 2, and that hurt our starting position," said Michael Caruso.
"When you have to work your way through from there, we needed to take risks with strategy. We thought they'd be a safety car early, but it never came.
"We got stuck behind slower cars and once that happens, it is hard because you lose track time. Ultimtely, our car pace is good enough to be in that top five or six cars.
"I'm really looking forward to Newcastle. We had great speed there last year, and it's a great event. It's the finale, so we have some positives to look forward to."
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
"Qualifying was a highlight – changing the gearbox yesterday proved to be a good decision," said Simona De Silvestro.
"We had really good one lap pace, and there was a yellow flag on a lap that I was doing even better one, so we could have been even further up.
"My start to the race was horrendous. We lost two spots there. The opening lap was OK, but we ran out of rear tyres. It was hard to drive, so it wasn't as nice as what it could have been. We'll look at it and see where we can improve."
#15 CASTROL RACING
"We had a really great start, got put on the outside at a couple of corners, including the hairpin. I had a fair bit of track, and I don't know what happened, but the track disappeared pretty quick," said Rick Kelly.
"I had a door in my right front wheel which pushed me completely off the track and bent the steering. That's the risk of being on the outside, being in that part of the track. That's what it is.
"I was really hoping that I was going to be able to drive back to a decent spot, but the car was just slow after the damage. We lost a lot of front aero with some parts missing, and I raced as hard as I could to finish where we could.
"We came here with hopes and aspirations of being up the front. We had glimpses of pace this weekend, but just had bad luck left, right and centre. We have one more round left to get us to where we'd like to be."