Hard Charging 4th Place Finish for Moffat at Phillip Island

Wilson Security Racing GRM driver James Moffat has had his best race of the season, finishing fourth in the sixth race of the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend.

The fifth race of the year however was a tougher one for Moffat, with his Holden Commodore suffering a high-speed tyre explosion, relegating the number 34 machine to a 14th place result.

The weekend’s results elevate Moffat to tenth in the season point standings.

The Championship now moves to Western Australia’s Barbagallo Raceway, with the fourth points paying event of the year scheduled for May 5-7.

Friday

  • Relatively dry running for a pair of 40 minute long practice sessions.
  • Battling with set up car setup throughout, Moffat registered the 18th and 19th best times in the respective sessions.

“Phillip Island is one of the best tracks we go to all year, and for me it’s my second favourite track behind Bathurst, so it was nice to get out there and do some laps in practice,” said Moffat.

“Fortunately, the weather held off and we got some good dry running. 

“We battled a little with the car setup and finished further down the time sheets than we would have liked. 

“It certainly gives us some work to do overnight to improve our speed.”

Saturday

  • Moffat qualified 16th in the 20 minute long qualifying session for race five.
  • Following an excellent start avoiding the turn two melee, Moffat ran in tenth position, before his race unravelled with a punctured tyre on lap nine.
  • The slow tour back to the pits cost the car a lap on the race leaders.
  • Pitting again on lap 26, Moffat nursed home the car in the shortened race to be classified 14th.

“We managed to improve our lap times a little from Friday practice but ultimately qualifying 16th was not where we wanted to be… we were still struggling with the same car balance issue we had on Friday,” said Moffat.

“For the race we were mindful of the fact that there could be issues with the tyres, despite not having any problems with the tyres in practice or qualifying. 

“I had a good start and was able to get through some of the chaos at turn two on the first lap, but nine laps into the race I had a right front tyre failure on the approach to turn one without any warning. 

“Due to this we went a lap down and from that point on we were just trying to survive and get to the finish; 14th is all we could manage.”

Sunday

  • A change of setup direction in qualifying didn’t work, with Moffat setting the 23rd best time.
  • Another good start saw Moffat once again miss the first lap carnage, before stopping under the opening safety car period from 14th, importantly missing the pit lane double stack.
  • Moffat’s next stop fell on lap 25 when he was running ninth.
  • A strong run to the finish netted fourth.

“We had more setup changes for Sunday’s qualifying, but we definitely went in the wrong direction and qualified in a disappointing 23rd,” said Moffat.  

“I was very frustrated with this performance, but felt that anything was possibly in the race if we could manage our tyres well enough. 

“That exactly what we were able to do and we took our opportunities from 23rd and to finish fourth was a great result for the team – especially coming off the back of Garth’s podium on Saturday. 

“I must admit it was a very stressful race trying to manage the tyres, but I’m pleased we got to the end. 

“There’s still plenty of work for us to do as team to find some more speed in these Commodores, especially in qualifying, so to come out of the weekend with some solid points for the championship was a positive.”

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