Pin­gel strug­gles at Gold Coast

Me­chan­i­cal prob­lems strike in fi­nal race

Gatton Star - - Sport -

QUEENS­LAND’S Gold Coast 600 is with­out doubt one of the tough­est street cir­cuit events in Aus­tralia and Gat­ton speed­ster Bren­don Pin­gel buck­led in to take on the chal­lenge.

But Bren­don’s shot at another round win was dashed by a gear­box fail­ure in the fi­nal race.

Af­ter win­ning the last Aussie Rac­ing Car round in Vic­to­ria, Bren­don had high hopes to im­prove his cham­pi­onship stand­ing at the Gold Coast.

Fri­day’s prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing was tough and cer­tainly de­mand­ing in the big­gest field ever as­sem­bled in Aussie Rac­ing Cars’ 15 year his­tory.

A mas­sive 50 car field lined up for prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing on Fri­day among some of the tough­est com­pe­ti­tion this year.

De­spite his best ef­forts, Bren­don only man­aged to qual­ify 16th.

“I re­ally thought my times would have been much bet­ter given the car felt fan­tas­tic,” he said.

In race one Bren­don im­proved three places to 13th be­fore the safety car was de­ployed due to an on track in­ci­dent.

In race two, a re­verse top 10 grid start­ing from the 11th po­si­tion, Bren­don quickly moved up two spots and by lap eight was run­ning in ninth po­si­tion when four sep­a­rate crashes oc­curred on the cir­cuit, bring­ing out the safety car.

On the ag­gre­gate of races one and two, Bren­don started in 10th po­si­tion for the fi­nal race on Sun­day morn­ing.

Who could ever have ex­pected what would even­tu­ate less than one lap af­ter the start of this race.

Af­ter mak­ing sev­eral mi­nor ad­just­ments over the past cou­ple of races, Bren­don had con­tin­ued to im­prove his lap times and com­pet­i­tive­ness of his car on this very dif­fi­cult cir­cuit.

By turn two in this fi­nal race, Bren­don had skil­fully made his way from tenth po­si­tion up to sixth spot.

The ex­cite­ment turned to ex­treme dis­ap­point­ment when ap­proach­ing the high-speed back chi­cane the gear­box let go in Bren­don’s Holden Cruze and left him with­out sec­ond or third gear.

With only fourth and fifth gears avail­able Bren­don pushed as hard as pos­si­ble but lost 15 spots and fin­ished a very dis­ap­point­ing 20th.

The fi­nal round of the 2013 Aussie Rac­ing Cars cham­pi­onship will be held on De­cem­ber 6, 7 and 8.

PHOTO: JAMES SMITH

TOUGH WEEKEND: Bren­don Pin­gel leads Dar­ren Cham­ber­lain around the tricky and treach­er­ous Gold Coast cir­cuit.

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