PAYCE TEAMS FINISH 2015 SEASON ON A HIGH DESPITE SOME DISAPPOINTMENT
Homebush - Final Round of V8 Supercars Championship
The V8 Supercar Drivers' Championship and the Teams Championship comes down to the wire with just three races to go.
With just three races to go over the weekend, fans of the Volvos and the Wilson Security Racing GRM (Volvo Polestar Racing) team were hoping to maintain the recent form and secure a pole position or maybe even a race win to cap the good result with what has been very much a rollercoaster ride throughout the season.
Thursday Friday – bump in preparation for the weekends racing.
Bump-in day on the Thursday saw an early problem when a part on the transporter failed as the #34 Volvo Polestar S60 was been unloaded, leaving the car lurching at a precarious angle in the air. Fortunately the problem was quickly fixed and the team was able to return to their very efficient routine setting up the pit garage.
Friday's practices revealed no surprises as both cars were being set up and tested for various conditions over the weekend. The best results for the team over the three practice sessions were Scott McLaughlin with a 5th place and David Wall a 20th.
Saturday's V8 Supercar racing - the results.
Saturday's program comprised a final practice session and warm-up before everyone got down to the serious business of qualifying for the two short sprint races to follow. Scotty looked promising with 4th fastest in practice session 4 before the qualifiers.
First qualifier for Race 34 saw both Scott and David just outside the top 10, in 11th and 13th respectively. This was David's best qualifier for the season to date. Second qualifier for Race 35 saw Scott improve substantially to gain a 6th spot on the grid, while David was 19th.
Brian Boyd – observations from the Pit-lane.
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said David's qualifier was very impressive and gave an indication of what was to come before the end of the weekend.
Race 34 was generally uneventful for the team, apart from David's #34 Volvo copping a whack up the back that ruined his track position but fortunately only resulted in panel damage to the boot and back bumper valance. By race end, Scott had driven a strong but sensible race and worked his way up three positions to 8th spot as the chequered flag came out, while David finished where he started in 19th, but only after a hard fought race in the pack.
Race 35 had Scott on the third row of the grid and he got away cleanly and was able to gain one position by race end, finishing 5th. David was not able to progress up the ladder and finished with another 19th.
"A pretty good day, unfortunately we just didn't quite get it in qualifying, but we had really strong race pace and gained a couple of positions during each race," noted Scott McLaughlin.
David said overall it was a much better day than in previous rounds and he was very happy with qualifying in a season-best 13th spot for race 34.
Brian Boyd said all the drivers found it hard going in the hot conditions but both drivers did a good job in the sprints.
"I was pleased to see Scotty improve on his start positions in each race, but David had to contend with the usual biff and barge that occurs in close racing over these short distance races, which are certainly a challenge to keep trouble at arms length," he said.
Sunday's racing – the Final shootout.
Sunday's long distance qualifier was to be where the Volvos shone. As is the norm, most teams kept their cards close to their chests until the last few minutes of qualifying, although Scott led at one stage and was never further back than 5th. David was pushing hard but could quite put it together in the first nine minutes of the 10 minute session, His two-wheel driving at 45 degrees around Turn 11 certainly made for good television viewing and thrilled the fans at that corner. Then with less than one minute to go Scott put in his customary flying lap to move into second spot and to cap it off David turned in a blinder that put him in 9th spot with 29 seconds remaining. For the first time this season, both Volvos had qualified for the top 10 shootout.
Brian Boyd at the Top Gun Shootout.
"A fantastic effort and a great reward for David who had driven his heart out all season and never gave up trying to get #34 further up the grid," Brian Boyd said.
In the top 10 shootout, David was second car out and while he posted a good time on the heat-affected track, he was to finish 10. Scott had to watch the times come down but were still beatable. As his fast lap got underway, he was quickest in the first two sectors and looked a certainty to complete the final sector with a pole finish, but pushing hard into the final corners he drifted out to the concrete wall and had to back off momentarily, resulting in a 7th fastest time.
Brian Boyd said: "While disappointing for the team and the fans, the fact remains that the two Volvos made it into the final shootout of the season and that was a major accomplishment and confidence builder for next year."
The final race of the year and season turned out to be an anticlimax in some respects. David was moved back two positions on the grid due to an issue during qualifying. Both drivers made good starts and Scott was able to move up a spot to 4th and David maintained position before a safety car session.
After a restart on lap 15, Scott was back to 5th while David worked his way up to 9th. Then at lap 62, Scott pitted with steering issues, likely caused by coming into contact with the high curbs. David was travelling comfortably in 12th place right up till the second last lap when he had a half spin that relegated him to 17th place where he finished in the race. With an extended stop in the pits, Scott was not able to do a lot but push on and he finished 19th after what was a very spirited drive from him before stopping for repairs.
The final result did not reflect how well the cars and the team performed on the day and the season ended on a very positive note with the cars having great race pace and with the early reliability issues sorted.
Brian Boyd said: "Augers well for a great 2016 season and congratulations to David on his top 10 qualifier and a great job throughout the season battling with many factors not of his making.
"Also a great job by Scotty, who had some terrific results towards the end of the season and of course a great job by team boss, Garry Rogers and his hard-working, dedicated team, who never give up and finally saw some positive results for their efforts.
"Congratulations also to Mark Winterbottom as winner of the 2015 Drivers Championship," he said.
All eyes on the V8 Supercars as the season concludes.
With all the attention focussed on the V8 Supercars, the Dunlop Development Series took a back seat, but it was the final round as well and young Macauley Jones was behind the wheel of the #14 PAYCE Commodore VE2. Macauley has had a great season overall, quickly learning the ropes in the category, as well as being rewarded with co-driver roles in the V8 Supercars enduros. At Homebush he finished with 8th and 16th places after qualifying midfield.
Brian Boyd said: "Macauley has a promising career ahead of him and is to be congratulated on his results through the season and his mature approach to the sport."
Roll on the 2016 season and go Team PAYCE!
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