Friday’s one and only Supercars session at the Melbourne SuperSprint was a fast and tumultuous affair, shortened due to incidents in other categories before featuring only five racing laps due to safety car interventions.
The race was scheduled to begin at 2.55pm but was postponed to 3.15pm due to a lengthy red flag period in the preceding Formula 3 session, with a time certain finish declared for 3.35pm.
In a return to times of old, the race was started under the waving of an Australian flag when the starting lights failed, before chaos unfolded with a car in the gravel and another car on fire in the pit lane before the end of the opening lap to bring out the first safety car.
Upon the restart, the field once again burst into life, however it wasn’t long before another safety car was required when a car became stranded on track, with the race declared under that same safety car on lap eight.
Before the race was neutralised for the first time, both Jimmy Golding and Tim Slade in the #31 and #23 Nulon Racing Camaros respectively had made great use of the limited racing time, advancing six positions to P13 for Golding and five positions to P19 for Slade.
On the restart, both entries were again looking racey, advancing further both on the track and through the pit stops to be positioned to finish the race in P10 (Golding) and P15 (Slade) when it was declared under safety car – an improvement of nine positions each despite the extremely limited running time.
“It was a very long day with not a lot of action!” Nulon Racing Team Principal, Matt Cook, said.
“We had about six hours this morning to sit around and wait for the race start, but the good thing about that was that it let us pull Tim’s car apart again after the repair from yesterday’s crash and make doubly sure it was safe and everything was pointing in the right direction.
“So the boys and girls had a big job this morning having a look at that, and then it was time to head into a race where there was a lot going on.
“The start lights failed so we started ‘old school’ under the Australian flag which was a little unique, and then came the safety cars with cars crashing, cars catching fire and so on.
“To be honest, while there was a lot happening, it was a little bit uneventful really as we only had five racing laps and the rest was under safety car.
“However, both boys moved a lot further forward from where they were at the back, the cars were fast and the strategy played well for us, so we will take those points and get ready to move into tomorrow for the next one.”
Golding said while the race was short, he was happy with the promise shown in his #31 Nulon Racing Camaro. P10 is a personal best result for Golding at the Albert Park circuit.
“It was a bit of a crazy race, that one!” Golding said.
“It was hectic – we started near the back after our poor qualifying yesterday but we made up a lot of positions, passing something like five cars in the first two corners, so that was good, and then there was a safety car almost straight away.
“We had a good restart and were passing cars, and then a little rain came in and the strategy changed.
“We had all good calls by the team in terms of strategy, there were a lot of boxes ticked, and the car is fast, which is important for tomorrow.”
After his challenging day on Friday, Slade was relieved to be able to stay out of trouble today.
“There was a lot going on out there but we stayed out of trouble and picked up nine positions, which was very good,” Slade.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to do much more with it, but we maximsed our time out there and the car was feeling really good, which was great after the dramas of yesterday.
“Thank you again to all of the Nulon Racing crew for all their work on the #23, here is hoping we can have some less interrupted running time tomorrow.”
Day three of the four-day Melbourne Super Sprint as part of the Australian Grand Prix (Saturday April 1) will feature back-to-back qualifying sessions for races five and six at 9.05 am and 9.35 am respectively, before race five kicks off at 5.30 pm. Sunday April 2 will then host the fourth and final race of the weekend (race six of the season) at 10.25 am. For full event information, visit www.supercars.com.au
For more information on Nulon Racing, please visit www.premiairracing.com or follow the team on its social media platforms at www.facebook.com/PremiAirRacing/, www.instagram.com/premiair_racing/, www.linkedin.com/company/premiairracing/ and www.twitter.com/premiairracing