11 MAR 2020
Drivers set for Melbourne 400 challenge
Penrite Racing's David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale will hit the track this week, looking to make the 2020 edition of the Melbourne 400 a memorable one for the red lion.
After a Ford whitewash at the Australian Grand Prix last year, Reynolds, the last Holden driver to claim victory on the Melbourne street circuit, believes teams are now more evenly matched and that Holden drivers welcome the chance to bring Holden fans some joy.
"I was surprised in some ways to be told I was the last Holden driver to win there, but I suppose it makes sense considering the Mustangs dominance last year," Reynolds said, who won the final race on Sunday in 2018.
"It's a cool feeling being the last Holden winner there, but it's been a long time, and we will be going out on a more even keel this week.
"It would be awesome to stand on the podium and honour Holden's last appearance in Supercars at the AGP.''
Qualifying this week will be tough with short 10-minute back-to-back sessions on Thursday and Friday, making the opening flying lap crucial for top grid positions.
Tyre-only pit stops, and compulsory soft and hard compounds also set this weekend's format.
"Qualifying is super important, there is plenty of pressure on the drivers to push for that one lap pace," Reynolds said.
"It's quite hard to pass even if there is a bit of tyre degradation and with the pit stops there is a big emphasis too on the teams to do a good job, otherwise you can lose a lot of spots, so strategy is so important."
De Pasquale, who lines up for his third Australian Grand Prix, agrees.
"The circuit is 5.3-kilometres which is second only to Bathurst, so that opening lap in qualifying is crucial before the tyre degradation sets in.
"It's quite intense and puts a lot of emphasis on delivering for that one lap and having the car to be able to do that with no room for errors.
"There are 25 drivers all putting in a good lap so you can't be too safe because it won't give you lap time, but there is a line between pushing and making a mistake.
"The curve ball for the weekend will be the mixed compound races.
"There is a lot of strategy at play to ensure you win the race with pit stops, different tyre compounds in each race. There is a lot going on so getting the right mix is crucial to give it a shot.''
2020 marks the 24th time that Supercars have raced at Albert Park.
The cars hit the track tomorrow for two practice sessions in the morning before back-to-back qualifying sessions in the afternoon.
Friday sees two qualifying sessions in the morning with the first race in the afternoon, two races on Saturday and the final race Sunday.