HOME OF THE NISSAN MOTORSPORT SUPERCARS TEAM

PRACTICE RESULTS: WD-40 PHILLIP ISLAND 500

by Michael Teychenne
on 19 April, 2018

Nissan Motorsport has completed today’s two practice sessions ahead of the first leg of the WD-40 Phillip Island 500 tomorrow.

After showing good speed early in both 40-minute sessions, the four-car squad will utilise this evening’s valuable engineering debrief to unlock its green tyre pace.

Rick Kelly will celebrate his 500th race start in tomorrow’s 250km event, as the #15 Castrol Racing driver becomes only the 6th person to achieve the milestone. Kelly was the quickest of the Nissan fleet early in the day, as he recorded the 12th fastest time in Practice 1. After sitting inside the Top 10 early in both sessions, the team will look to expand its single lap green tyre pace which saw Kelly shuffle down the order late in the day.

Simona De Silvestro completed an impressive 36 laps across the day’s two practice sessions, with the #78 Team Harvey Norman entry finishing the first session in 14th position. In only her second visit to the scenic circuit, De Silvestro finished Practice 2 in 20th. The Swiss driver will attempt to replicate last year’s performance at Phillip Island, where she recorded her best result of the year.

Andre Heimgartner had a challenging afternoon, as the #7 Plus Fitness entry struggled for high-speed balance around the 4.45km circuit. The New Zealander 's best result of the day was 21st in Practice 1. As Heimgartner and his engineer, Dilan Talabani, work on the package overnight ahead of tomorrow's qualifying.

Michael Caruso recorded a Top 5 position at this event last year and will work on his car overnight to attempt to repeat that performance tomorrow. The #23 Drive Racing entry was another of the Altimas to struggle with balance. However, the team will compare data across all four entries to resolve the challenge ahead of tomorrow's action.

Tomorrow at WD-40 Phillip Island 500 will consist of a 20-minute qualifying session to determine the grid for the afternoon’s 250km event.


RICK KELLY
#15 CASTROL RACING

"We very much have a race car rather than a qualifying car at the moment - which isn't the worst thing when we're racing over 250km tomorrow. Extracting that speed over one lap will be our challenge. But this is certainly a place where the race can come to you later on."

 

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN

"I really love this track. It's such a fun place to drive. We haven't got the car in the window yet, so it's a bit of a handful. But there's plenty of positive signs heading into tomorrow. I'll work with Chris overnight to make sure the car is ready for qualifying."

 

MICHAEL CARUSO
#23 DRIVE RACING

"The car is misbehaving a little bit at the moment, but we'll all come together tonight to attempt to resolve the issues. High speed balance is super critical around here, so we just need to ensure the car is in the window for qualifying."

 

ANDRE HEIMGARTNER
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING

"Even when the car isn't exactly how you want it, this place is still good fun to drive around. We're not happy with how we ended the day and we'll have a bit of homework to do overnight. Now it's just a case of finding a bit more consistency to string together a complete lap. So overall, it was a tough day but we're optimistic ahead of tomorrow."

 

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