Return to the Top Ten for Moffat in NZ

Wilson Security GRM driver James Moffat has returned to the top-ten as the Supercars Championship made its annual trip to New Zealand.

Moffat’s ninth place in the Sunday race was his fifth top-ten result of the year, and first since the Sandown 500.

Following 24 races of season 2017, Moffat now sits 17th in the point standings.

The Supercars Championship concludes with an all-new event on the street of Newcastle from November 24-26.

Friday

  • A pair of 40-minute practice sessions opened the weekend, with Moffat seventh on the scoring sheets.
  • With conditions remaining dry in the second session, Moffat registered the 19th fastest time, as the team focussed on race pace.

“Not a bad day for us – it’s always enjoyable coming back to Pukekohe as it’s a great track to drive on with plenty of challenges,” said Moffat.

“Our initial speed in practice one was pretty good, and we elected to focus on race runs in practice two, which meant we didn’t show our true speed at the end of the session.”

Saturday

  • A soaked track saw qualifying for the opening race abandoned, with grid positions reverting to practice times, which gave Moffat grid position 19.
  • From the race start on a dry track, Moffat settled into 20th position before pitting late from eighth on lap 13.
  • Once the stops cycled through, Moffat sat in 16th, before pitting under safety car on lap 34.
  • After dropping a position to Craig Lowndes on lap 43, Moffat picked up two places following an incident between Fabian Coulthard and David Reynolds, which saw the safety car return to the track.
  • When Chaz Mostert served a drive-through penalty, Moffat found himself in 13th, where he held station until the time-certain finish.

“It was disappointing that qualifying couldn’t take place, but the condition of the newly resurfaced back straight were far too dangerous for our cars and the wet tyre we have,” said Moffat.

“I was literally driving down the back straight in fifth gear at 30% throttle getting wheel spin.

“We anticipated more rain throughout the race, so we elected to go with a half-wet half-dry setup, but it ended up being dry the whole time.

“As a result, we struggled a little with the car balance, but we were able to move forward some places throughout the race to finish 13th.”

Sunday

  • Qualifying netted Moffat the ninth starting position for the final 70 lap race of the weekend.
  • A Prodrive based melee at the hairpin on the opening lap saw Moffat navigate his way through to fourth position on the road.
  • Pitting from the lead on lap 13, Moffat settled into sixth when the opening stops concluded.
  • On lap 37, Moffat stopped for the second time from fourth, resuming in eighth place.
  • Dropping a spot to the recovering Chaz Mostert, Moffat brought the car across the line in ninth.

“Qualifying in ninth was a really solid effort I thought, as we made some good improvements to the car overnight,” said Moffat.

“In the race, we probably didn’t quite execute the strategy as best we could have after gaining some good track position at the beginning.

“All in all, finishing ninth was still a really good effort from everyone in the team.”

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