HOME OF THE NISSAN MOTORSPORT SUPERCARS TEAM

TOUGH DAY OUT AT ADELAIDE 500

by Michael Teychenne
on 03 March, 2018

Despite showing signs of early promise, Nissan Motorsport has endured a challenging day of racing at the Adelaide 500 this afternoon.

The first leg of the event is a 78 lap race, with grid positions determined by a 20-minute qualifying session and Top 10 Shootout. It produced a tough afternoon around an unforgiving racetrack. Where all four Nissans faced challenges and recorded their own hard luck stories.

Following a difficult qualifying session, Michael Caruso displayed improved competitiveness in the morning’s final practice prior to the race. Starting from 20th on the grid, the #23 Drive Racing Nissan worked its way up the order with a long first stint, eventually inheriting the lead as those around made their first stops. A mid-race spin on fluid at the hairpin made his charge more difficult, but Caruso would ultimately cross the line in 15th.

Andre Heimgartner started his first ever race for the Nissan Motorsport squad from 11th on the grid, following a competitive qualifying session from the 22-year-old. The Plus Fitness driver became the leading Nissan entry early on in the event and would hold that position for much of the race. As the event progressed, Heimgartner was forced to battle a seat issue which affected his legs, and on lap 55 he stumbled across another competitor’s accident at the hairpin and fell to the back of the pack. The New Zealander was able to climb back up the order and crossed the line in 17th.

Simona De Silvestro struggled with braking performance in her #78 Team Harvey Norman Nissan throughout the day. Starting from 23rd on the grid, the Swiss driver battled hard in the mid-pack for the duration of the race and crossed the line in 18th. Concerned with a lack of tyre grip in the event’s later stages, De Silvestro will now work with her new engineer overnight to refine the package used in the morning’s Race 2 qualifying session.  

Rick Kelly's #15 Castrol Racing entry started today's scheduled 250km event from 7th on the grid, after a smooth shootout lap nabbed Kelly a further 3 positions from his original qualifying. But contact with the turn three wall during the opening lap of the race forced Kelly into the pits, where he lost over 10 laps to the leaders with repairs to his suspension. However, Kelly kept out of trouble for the remainder of the race to finish in 23rd. Tomorrow’s reset button will be of particular interest to the Castrol Racing driver.

 

 

 

Michael Caruso - #23 Drive Racing

"Yeah look, we got a really good start, jumped a few spots, was pressing along pretty good, our strategy was always to go long. The car was really strong, really happy with it, but unfortunately very early in the second stint we had a driveline issue and that was something I had to carry for the rest of the race. From there it was just effectively trying to bring it home so to manage to come in 15th is a semi-decent result considering the mechanical issue we had. I think we’ve got a good car, we’ll just fix that up, that shouldn’t be a drama. Hopefully we can qualify really well tomorrow because I think we’ve got a car that can achieve some good results in the race."

 

Andre Heimgartner - #7 Plus Fitness Racing

"Yeah, got off to a good start, and then obviously just got caught up in a bit of drama and all that. But the car is pretty fast it is just a shame we weren’t able to make use of it. I was just keeping it sort of clean but it is what it is. I need to try and fix my seat, I was battling with my legs going numb for the last 40 or 50 laps, so to try and get that sorted would be a big help."

 

Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman

"That wasn't a very good race for us. We just no pace really. I tried to make the most of it when we had the chance and when we were in a group and able to pass a few cars at the start and at the re-start. But then we just really struggling with grip in the car and consistency, so it was a bit of a long day and tough day but you know, I finished it. Now we just need to make the car a bit better for tomorrow."

 

Rick Kelly - #15 Castrol Racing

"It was definitely a day of ups-and-downs for the Castrol Racing car. We made some spots up in the shootout, after resolving our car balance issues in practice, but then we had dramas on the first lap of the first race of the year.  

"I didn’t make a very good start and was running side-by-side with Will Davison into turn one, which put me over the curb and wide at turn two. I tried to sneak around the outside of him through turn 3 and the grip I expected to be there simply wasn’t there. So we slid and tagged the wall with the right rear. It wasn’t a massive mistake but the repercussions were huge, as we were forced to pit and fix the broken suspension arm. From a driver’s point of view, I put my hand up and say sorry to the team because we had a good opportunity with a solid car. But tomorrow is a new and exciting day."

 

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