HOME OF THE NISSAN MOTORSPORT SUPERCARS TEAM

DE SILVESTRO LEADS THE NISSAN SQUAD IN TASSIE

by Michael Teychenne
on 04 April, 2018

Simona De Silvestro has finished as the fastest Nissan following today's two practice sessions around Symmons Plains for this weekend's Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.


A new qualifying format is being trialed this weekend (see below), as the combined times from today's 2 x 45-minute Practice sessions now determine the running order for part of tomorrow's three-part elimination qualifying. De Silvestro only narrowly missed out on automatically making it into the second part of tomorrow's elimination qualifying, after the Swiss driver set the 11th fastest time. The promising result is testament to the progress the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver is making with her new-for-2018 engineer, Chris Stuckey.

Michael Caruso's day started promisingly, with the #23 Drive Racing entry finishing inside the Top 10 in Practice 1. The green tyre balance of the car shifted for the second session, as the Altima suffered understeer at a couple of crucial points around the track. The team will work on the set-up overnight ahead of tomorrow's practice and qualifying.

Rick Kelly was unhappy with the balance of his Nissan at the conclusion Practice 2. The #15 Castrol Racing entry finished the day in 16th once both sessions were combined. After originally finishing in 12th after Practice 1, Kelly found the car more challenging around the 2.41km circuit in the afternoon's cooler conditions. The former Symmons Plains race winner will do a bit more homework overnight to help resolve the issue.

Andre Heimgartner was unable to set a green tyre time in Practice 2 and finished 21st fastest overall. The Plus Fitness Racing driver is making his first appearance at Tasmania in a Nissan this year, and he will work with the other drivers to help improve his pace ahead of qualifying.

QUALIFYING EXPLAINED

PRACTICE
Practice consists of two 45-minute sessions. That's pretty normal. But what's new and interesting is that the Top 10 drivers from today's practice times will earn a place straight into Qualifying Part 2 tomorrow. The drivers outside the Top 10 combined times will have to fight it out during Qualifying Part 1 tomorrow.

QUALIFYING PART 1: A NEW QUALIFYING
So any driver that finished outside the Top 10 in the combined practice times will need to compete in this session. The fastest 6 drivers from this session will then make it into Qualifying Part 2.

QUALIFYING PART 2: THE QUALIFYING STRIKES BACK
This is when the Top 10 fastest drivers from Practice rejoin the show - along with the 6 fastest cars from Qualifying Part 1. After a fast and furious 10 minutes, the Top 10 cars from this session will make it into Qualifying Part 3.

QUALIFYING PART 3: RETURN OF THE QUALIFYING
From here it gets super straightforward, with 10 cars competing over 10 minutes. The Top 10 cars battle it out for pole! Easy!

 


SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN

“I felt pretty comfortable with the car. We tried a few little things and put what worked best onto the car. In the end, we got a pretty good lap time out of it, even though I made a little mistake heading into turn one. It's a bit of a shame to miss out on the Top 10. So if I didn't make that small mistake, I think we would have easily been inside that Top 10. Things are starting to click with my engineer. If we qualified in tenth I would have thought the new format was great, but since we're eleventh I think it's a bit annoying. We have a bit of work ahead of us, but qualifying is what counts."

 

MICHAEL CARUSO
#23 DRIVE RACING

“Unfortunately, our car went out the window in that second session. We had a bit more understeer that we couldn't dial out. We'll look over the car tonight ahead of hopefully completing all three qualifying sessions tomorrow. The new format was a little bit messy with the red flag late in the session. But they'll tune that and overall it improved the show."

 

RICK KELLY
#15 CASTROL RACING

“We learned a lot from running green tyres in the first practice session. We spent most of the session trying to tune for the issues we discovered. When we bolted another set on we discovered we hadn't quite got tot the level of progress we'd hoped for. We're quite strong in two of the four corners, so we'll work on the others now."

 

ANDRE HEIMGARTNER
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING


“I didn't get my lap in at the end of the session. So that made things difficult with everyone else getting a green tyre run. But the car itself feels pretty good. So I'm excited to head into tomorrow. The format change doesn't make too much of a difference. It brings the congestion forward a session. So hopefully it means qualifying is a little cleaner and we're able to participate in all three sessions."

 

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