PAYCE RACING UPDATE AT THE CASTROL GOLD COAST 600
PAYCE V8 Supercars team collects two front row grid positions and a top six result on the Gold Coast
The Castrol Gold Coast 600
The Wilson Security Racing GRM (Volvo Polestar Racing) team got off to a great start on the Gold Coast in the first 300 kilometre endurance race on Saturday
With Scott McLaughlin putting the #33 Polestar Volvo on the front row of the grid in second position after a spirited qualifier and top ten shootout that saw him beaten for the pole by a mere 14/100ths of a second.
David Wall in the #34 car also drove well and but for a couple of small errors could have been higher up than 18th spot on the grid.
David Wall and Chris Pither also had a tough race day in car #34 and after David had a coming together with the barriers on cold tyres and another car, they still managed to improve their starting position by two places to come home in 16th place.
Unfortunately, a couple of incidents in the race itself put paid to what was shaping up for a great result for the #33 car. Alex Premat was a bit too enthusiastic in the chicane, taking too much kerb and sustaining some damage to the front of the car and steering.
"I had a really good start, but I hit the curbs which destroyed a bit of the front splitter," Alex explained.
From there the race for #33 went downhill with an extended stop in the pits to carry out repairs and fit a replacement front bar. As a result, the car went from second to 12th, before Scott McLaughlin worked his way into the top ten. Unfortunately, more troubles surfaced with the steering oil cooler and another lengthy pit stop pushed them down to eventually finish in 21st position. On the positive side, the car displayed good race pace and that raised the team's hopes for a better result on Sunday.
PAYCE Impressive Race Qualifyer - Brian Boyd
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said Scott McLaughlin was very impressive in qualifying and again in the shootout that saw him move up two positions and put the car on the front row of the grid.
"Scott always performs well under pressure and has a habit of putting a great lap together when it counts," he said.
"The #33 Volvo proved itself fast and capable of performing well on both hard and soft compound tyres, which wasn't always the case in earlier rounds," he said.
Sunday`s Qualifying Nail-Biter
Sunday's qualifier to decide grid positions for the second 300 kilometre race was a nail-biter as Scott McLaughlin pulled out all stops to record fastest time with just two minutes to go. Scott not only made up for the previous day's bad luck, he captured his 13th pole of his career and a cheque for $1000.
"Qualifying on pole was a big step in the right direction for us, our qualifying pace is back where it was last year," Scott McLaughlin said.
Brian Boyd said McLaughlin's pole was well deserved and made it three consecutive front row starts on the trot, including Bathurst.
"There were some anxious minutes in the pit garage as the team watched the times of the other drivers as they tried to better Scott's time," he said.
"Scott has now clocked up 13 pole positions in his relatively short career and I feel sure there are many more to come," he said.
And in the final race of the day ...
David and Chris had little luck in the second race after starting 20th on the grid, and then in the race itself Chris was the innocent victim when attempting an inside pass on another car. The other car was subsequently penalised for turning in on #34, but the damage sustained to #34 put the duo out of the race.
Alex Premat started the final race in car #33 and quickly settled into second position and showed the car had the pace to go all the way with a strong chance of a podium. The drivers changed at lap 35 and Scott continued to push hard in second position. Safety car sessions and pit stops for fuel and tyres then moved track positions around. Unfortunately, the last safety car session of the day pushed them back down the field when fuel strategy became the deciding factor and they finished the race in 6th position.
Gold Coast 600, the race as it was ...
Summing up, Brian Boyd said the Gold Coast once again put on a great show for fans with lots of exciting racing and drama.
"The Gold Coast track is generally considered the toughest in the championship on cars and drivers and this year it again lived up to its reputation," he said.
"The GRM pit team did a great job over the weekend dealing with the various dramas and pressures and it was disappointing not to get a better result for their efforts.
"I know the team is staying positive and looking forward to a good result and hopefully a podium finish at the ITM 500 Auckland round in Pukekohe," Brian Boyd said.
Porsche Carrera Cup – with Brian Boyd
Richard Muscat in the #22 PAYCE Porsche GT3 arrived in Surfers facing the challenge of an unfamiliar track but wasn't expected to be fazed given his love of street circuits.
As the final round of the series unfolded, he finished all three races with good results. Starting the meeting well with a strong qualifier that placed him on the third row in the first race, he came home in 6th place, not far off the leaders. Race two saw him improve his position by one to secure a top five finish. Race three was a hard fought race that saw him trade a few bumps, but improve his position to come home in fourth spot.
Brian Boyd said: "Richard has impressed me all season with his consistency and throughout the season has never been far from the leaders in all his races.
"In all, a great effort for his first time at the Gold Coast track and in very experienced and competitive company," he said.
"Congratulations to Richard and his BRM team on a great season and wish them well in 2016."
The meeting was the eighth and final round of the Porsche Carrera Cup and Richard Muscat finished the season in a well-deserved 6th place, notching up 11 top five finishes from 22 starts.
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