Gulf Western Oil V8 Supercar driver Michael Hector fought hard in an unpredictable Dunlop Series Round at Bathurst, saving his best for the second race with a confidence boosting result for the team.
The Matt Stone Racing crew were hoping the previous round disappointment at Winton was well behind them as the Gulf Western Oil FG Falcon took to the famous Mt Panorama track on Thursday. With practice done it was onto qualifying, but a penalty applied during the session cost Michael his best time and put the car to the rear of the grid.
Race 1 saw Michael fired up as he stormed into the Top 20, carving through the field with strong race pace and lap times far better than the group in front of him. Unfortunately this was sort lived as half way through the race the Gulf Western Oil Falcon got caught up in other drivers mess and the car took a big hit to the left front instantly generating steering issues. Just 2 laps later the car succumbed to the damage pitching Hector into heavy contact with the wall exiting the Chase. The car returned to Pit Lane but had sustained major damage forcing a retirement.
Saturday’s Race 2 forced Michael of another rear of grid start due to the DNF in Race 1. With no chance to do a shake down on the car, Hector was straight into it. After the repairs the car was very good and he worked his way through the field again showing clearly more pace than many cars in front of him, but 14 laps was not enough to quite get Michael back inside the Top 20, a P21 his best result. An eleven spot gain however showed the pace of the GW Falcon.
“Bathurst proved to be exactly what it is known for tough, demanding, physically and mentally draining and super quick. This is what all racing drivers thrive on and this is why this circuit is the best in the country.
“We were really excited about the Bathurst weekend and what it had in store for us. Once on the track, it proved to be a real challenge with a green track and ever changing conditions. We settled in well through the practice sessions and achieved constant lap times that would put us right amongst the action but after a penalty in qualifying and losing our best time, the Gulf Western Oil Falcon started at the rear of grid in P32.
“From this point on the cards were stacked against us but with total commitment from the team and driver we were soon inside the Top 20. The car had great pace and the lap times showed it. After the hit to the front end, the car was edgy out of the Chase pitching me into the concrete wall. There was considerable damage but at least I was able to back to the pits for the MSR boys to check it.
“The team at MSR worked tirelessly to get the Gulf Western Oil Ford prepared for Race 2 the following day. They did a fantastic job and it is an absolute credit to the team. Due to the DNF in Race 1 we started at rear of grid again for the final. The car was on song, and I got past a lot of other cars but just missed the Top 20. We showed that the Gulf Western Oil Falcon had really good pace and that was very pleasing. Motor Racing is full of ups and downs and we bounced back in the fashion consistently shown by the team at MSR.
“I loved the weekend; the atmosphere was fantastic and the commitment was second to none. We dug deep and reaped the rewards and this will only make us stronger for the next round in Sydney.” Michael concluded at the end of the meeting.
The 7th and final Round of the Dunlop Series will be held at the Telstra 500 in Sydney in early December.
Michael Hector sits in 28th position in the 2013 Championship.
Michael Hector is proudly supported by Gulf Western Oil, Carrington Equipment Group, CEG Rentals, McLuskey Insurance Brokers, Wurth, Griffiths Transport Newcastle, Doherty Heavy Equipment Repairs, and Action Plant Support & Koala Glass Newcastle