V8 SUPERCARS AT THE ITM AUCKLAND 500
PAYCE backed V8 Supercars team perform well in NZ with a pole and podium
The V8 Supercars re-visited the Pukekohe Park Raceway 40 kilometres south of Auckland for round 12 after an absence of some 18 months. The track is a favourite of Kiwi Volvo driver Scott McLaughlin and expectations were high going into the meeting that a good result was on the cards from the 'local hero' and the team.
Memories of a win in one of last year's races and the first win of his V8 Supercars career in 2013 at the track also inspired McLaughlin and the GRM team to push hard all weekend.
The ITM 500, a thrilling weekends Motor Racing.
The Wilson Security Racing GRM (Volvo Polestar Racing) team got off to a great start on Friday, the first day of practice, with a conservative top 10 time in the first practice from McLaughlin, as the team bedded in and tried different settings to set up the car for the weekend. David Wall in #34 also used the time to get familiar with the track again and try various settings. The second practice session of the day brought out the best in car #33, with McLaughlin posting the fastest time of the day. Wall moved up one spot to 23rd in the session, just over a second behind McLaughlin's quick time.
The team was buoyed by the result, which confirmed that the speed of the car at both the Gold Coast and Bathurst rounds was still there and that the car was highly competitive and right on race pace.
Saturday`s Motor Racing program
Saturday's program started with a third practice session, which saw McLaughlin repeat the previous day's practice result with a resounding fastest time to lead the field. Wall was not able to improve, finishing in 25th spot.
The first qualifying session for race 28 on hard tyres saw McLaughlin in the top five, but disappointed that he had not been able to maintain his earlier practice positions.
The second qualifier for race 29 on soft tyres saw McLaughlin put together some strong laps and improve to bring the #33 Volvo home in 3rd spot putting him on the second row of the grid.
In race 28, McLaughlin was slow to start and dropped several places but continued to drive hard throughout the race to finally emerge in ninth place. Wall in #34 had his best result of the meeting, despite some panel damage, pulling in a number of cars to finish in 18th place.
Wall said he was stuck behind the pack for the start but pleased he could move forward during the race. "I need to get a better qualifier in and then we will be in a stronger position for the race itself," he said.
Race 29 on soft tyres was to give the team their best result for some time, with McLaughlin finishing aggressively in third place and right on the tail of the two leaders and happy to be back on the podium and pleased to get his hands on a shiny trophy for his efforts. Wall finished in 22nd spot.
"It was an awesome race with good racing and to finish third at my home race is great," McLaughlin said.
Sunday's Motor Racing program
Sunday dawned with the fine weather continuing and the promise of more great racing for the fans. The 20 minute qualifying session for the main race of the day was a blinder, with McLaughlin reeling off a fantastic last lap of the session that put him back on top with a $1000 pole winner cheque and pumped for a good race.
"To claim pole in New Zealand is amazing and something that I'll never forget. We have come a long way since the start of the year with the Volvo and we are moving up the ranks in terms of speed and reliability," McLaughlin said.
Starting from pole in the final race, McLaughlin was 2nd into the first corner, but as the race progressed and various strategies came into play he found himself pushed down the order to 7th at one stage, before regaining one position to cross the finishing line in 6th spot, while Wall finished in 20th position after working his way up to 16th at mid-race.
The Motor Racing Wrap up for PAYCE
Overall, a good result for the Wilson Security Racing GRM (Volvo Polestar) team in light of the disappointments earlier in the season and a strong indication they are still capable of running at the front of the pack and turning in top performances.
A podium, a pole qualifier, fastest in two practices and in the top 10 all weekend was the team's best performance this year. As well, McLaughlin finished 4th in the points for the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy and returned to the top 10 in the championship.
The ITM 500 - Racing Observations with Brian Boyd
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said he thoroughly enjoyed the weekend of racing.
"There was a lot expected of Scott going into the weekend, and he certainly gave his loyal band of fans plenty to cheer about," he said.
"Scott's qualifying run for the main race was especially brilliant and it's becoming a bit of a habit of his to pull one out of the bag in the final stages of qualifying sessions.
"The racing itself was thrilling and entertaining and our team put up a great fight and performed well," he said.
"The Volvos had good speed and it was reassuring to see that most of the gremlins have gone and both cars were reliable all weekend.
"Congratulations to Scott and Garry and all the team on their pole and a podium and for all their hard work and I wish them well in the two remaining rounds of the season."
- Brian Boyd – Managing Director of PAYCE Consolidated Pty Limited Limited Sydney NSW
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- Brian Boyd - PAYCE sponsored V8 Supercar Motor Racing
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