Raising the flag
IDON’T think I’ve ever seen a black flag rescinded. The issue with Garth Tander getting a black flag and then having that decision reversed is bad for our sport.
There is no consistency. There were bits of car falling off all over the lap, yet I’ve seen black flags issued to cars with bumpers hanging but not falling off.
We’ve all had black flags before and done the drive-through no matter what we thought, but to stay out on the track when there are bits of car flying off everywhere while you argue the point is not right.
I was actually the cause of GT’s smashed headlight because I hit his car with the rear spoiler.
As for the James Courtney black flag, I didn’t see his restart, but I understand there were several issues with erratic braking and accelerating and his distance behind the safety car.
There are rules and you simply have to abide by them or pay the penalty.
For me, it was a bit of an up-and-down weekend with a second on Saturday and ninth on Sunday, ending on virtually the same points margin from the leaders as before I started.
But we’re still in third and still in the hunt for the title because – as the weekend shows – anything can happen in this sport.
Certainly anything can and will happen on street circuits and we still have the streets of Sydney to race in the finale, so who knows? My teammate Jamie (Whincup) almost threw it all away in Sydney last year. Most importantly, we have come away from the weekend virtually unscathed ex-
Certainly anything can and will happen on street circuits and we still have the streets of Sydney to race in the finale, so who knows?
cept for a few Kiwi nibbles in the sides and back of Jamie’s car from his dramatic duel with Cheeseburger (Shane Van Gisbergen) and a smack in the rear of our car from (Warren) Luff on pit entry.
That hit on my co-driver Andy Priaulx ruined our chances in the Sunday race because it put our rear wing out of alignment and reduced the downforce, which chewed up our rear tyres.
It was a shame because we were third at the time and ended up ninth.
The Sunday race was just so unpredictable. Who would have thought there would be six safety car periods, with five in the first half? At one stage we had done more laps under safety car conditions than race conditions.
The safety car driver almost drove farther than the co-drivers. It really played havoc with our strategy and in the end Andy drove more laps than me.
Not that his driving caused us any problems. He certainly deserved his award for the best international driver. Andy did a fantastic job and I’m sure our team principal Roland Dane would have him back next year. His whole approach to the event was level-headed and he kept improving from the moment he got in to test the car at Queensland Raceway.
Actually, I think that is one of the reasons for all the carnage on the Sunday – the international drivers got braver and more aggressive as they started to learn the track and understand the cars.
Thankfully, Andy kept his nose clean, kept up the pace and brought it home clean.
I was glad to see the shortened track and newly resurfaced sections didn’t break up. The only bit I recall breaking up was at the back of the kerb in the fast chicane on the beach straight.
I also like the new hairpin fourth corner, which provides an extra passing opportunity.
With the shorter layout, you really had to keep your wits about you and concentrate the whole time.
Also, it is easy to go a lap down, which means lapped traffic fights very aggressively not to be overtaken, making it difficult to deal with back markers.
In all, I think they’ve done a good job with the layout. After all, with a street circuit you have to work around the streets that are already there.
I believe the State Government and V8 Supercars Australia have a threeyear contract, but let’s hope the Gold Coast event continues for longer than that.
V8 boss Tony Cochrane is very confident it will stay. I think the Gold Coast race is definitely justified as a V8-only event, judging by the 170,000 people it attracted over the three days.
Road toll: Garth Tander returns to pit lane after crashing out on the Surfers Paradise street circuit.