OVER the course of 28 racing laps, Novocastrian Motorsport experienced the highs and lows of the biggest weekend in Australian motorsport, in the fifth round of the 2012 Dunlop V8 Supercar Series at Mount Panorama.
In Friday’s opening race, brothers Drew and Aaren Russell both finished inside the Top 10, before a stuck throttle late in Saturday’s race left Aaren Russell’s Falcon extensively damaged. In the same race, Michael Hector’s weekend also ended prematurely.
Sporting new backing from Newcastle Commercial Finance, Drew Russell led the way for the team, to consolidate his place inside the Top 10 of the series standings. After qualifying in 12th place, Russell progressed to finish the opening 14-lap race in eighth position. With 12th in Race 2 while battling an engine flat-spot, Russell secured his third Top 10 round result of 2012 to remain 10th in the standings.
Aaren Russell was one of the big movers in the field in Race 1, advancing from 17th on the grid to finish 10th, his best race result of the year. On the last lap of Race 2, however, the throttle on his CEG Rentals Falcon stuck, firing the car into the outside wall at Turn 3.
The 21-year-old emerged unscathed, however the car is extensively damaged and an assessment on its future will be made in the coming days. Classified 19th for the weekend, Russell leaves Bathurst 17th in the points.
Series rookie Michael Hector also struck trouble in Race 2. Improving his laptimes as the weekend progressed, Hector finished 19th in Race 1 from 22nd on the grid in the Carrington Equipment Group Falcon. His run in Saturday’s race ended at Turn 2 on Lap 6, following a spin. Hector was 21st for the weekend and occupies the same position in the standings.
The next round of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series will be held at Winton Motor Raceway, Victoria, on November 16-18.
“My aim before the weekend was to come away with a Top 10, and we’ve achieved that, so we’re happy with the weekend. It’s great to get a result first up for Newcastle Commercial Finance as well.
“Friday’s race was pretty good. We just kept trucking along and people kept falling off around us. I was pretty happy with our own speed, and at one stage I thought I was going to catch Tim Blanchard and George Miedecke up ahead. In the end, the gap was a little too big, so instead of pushing I decided to conserve and follow them.
“Overnight, we changed an engine map, which gave it a big flat-spot at about 6000rpm, making it pretty hard to drive the car with any confidence. It wasn’t too bad down the straights, but trying to drive it out of corners, it would die, and then all of a sudden explode into wheelspin.
“My aim for the end of the year is to be in the Top 10 in the championship. We’re on track for that, and it’s a strong field, so I think we’re doing a good job to be where we are.”
“That’s the highs and lows of Bathurst. I’m pretty disappointed, especially for the guys.
“Coming through the kink left after Turn 2, the throttle stuck and the car ran on, into the wall. It was a big hit and the car’s pretty sore and sorry; it’s done the front and back rails. The cage area is fine, but we’ll have to wait until we get back to see if we’re going to be able to fix it for Winton. It’ll be a big task without the resources of a Main Game team.
“I’m feeling a bit sore, especially my left foot, which smashed the clutch pedal. I had it on the footrest, and when I hit the wall side-on, it was forced into the clutch pedal, which has taken skin off through the boot and underwear.
“Before that, we were having a pretty good weekend. On Friday, we didn’t do much passing, but Drew and I kept our heads and both finished inside the Top 10.”
“Overall, it was an awesome experience. In each session, I learnt more and more about the car and the track, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to race at one of the iconic circuits of the world.
“I had a good run in Race 1, doing consistent times and staying out of trouble while a number of other drivers fired off, but in Race 2, I had an issue with the car and spun at Turn 2. Fortunately, the car wasn’t damaged, so we’ll regroup for Winton.
“Other than Aaren’s accident, it was a fantastic weekend for the team; especially with Drew’s Top 10 as we welcomed Newcastle Commercial Finance to the team.”
Novocastrian Motorsport is proudly supported by Go Karts Go, Carrington Equipment Group, CEG Rentals, Newcastle Commercial Finance, Century Batteries, Mid North Coast Pipelines and Civil, Promac Gearbox and Diff, Steve Koulis Smash Repairs, Koala Glass, Valvoline, Duncan Excavations, Hunter Kitchen King, Mocomm, McCluskey Insurance Brokers, Wurth, Griffiths Transport Newcastle, Burton Visual Signs, Environmental Land Contracting and Lubrimaxx.