Reward for DJR as Blanchard and Walsh score Top 15 at Bathurst
Wilson Security Racing / DJR has ended a week of highs and lows with a strong result for the #12 Advam in P15.
Young DJR drivers Tim Blanchard and Ash Walsh were one of the surprise packages of the day running consistently in the Top 10 leading many fancied and high profile teams. The huge crowd on hand at Mt Panorama were cheering all day for the sentimental favourite as the retro livery Greens’ – Tuf Falcon of Chaz Mostert and Dale Wood overcame the practice crash to show a very strong turn of speed in the early laps.
The 29 car grid was unleashed at 10.30am under clear skies but with strong winds seeing a lot of dust and debris on the track. All the drivers were complaining of a lack of grip for much of the early running. Starting from Pit Lane, #17 was given to Dale Wood to undertake the early stints before Mostert climbed aboard. All co drivers were required to do a minimum of 54 laps and many teams elected to start that way. The bad luck continued to dog the Greens’ – Tuf / Wilson Security entry as the team were subject to a Pit Lane Penalty drive thorough for allegedly not having the car jacked up whilst the team topped up the fuel after the warm up lap. Despite vision showing the contrary, the penalty was served thus putting the car well back and out of touch with the field. A great drive by Wood played the car back into contention but further trouble struck when the driver change occurred and Chaz stalled the car. A seized starter motor meant the car dropped some laps and effectively ended the day for the duo.
Meanwhile Blanchard had played the #12 Advam entry into a very strong position handing over to rookie Walsh in P9. Ash then put in a 66 lap triple stint lapping very strongly and bringing the car well into the Top 10. A scare for the team occurred when a ‘Mexican’ hat lodged itself on the front splitter – the team watching temperatures nervously. Walsh dodged the bullet and brought the car in for his final stop in 6th place after a great drive. With Blanchard back in the car till the end of the race, a Top 10 was beckoning.
The Greens’ – Tuf Falcon pushed on despite being 4 laps down but rewarded the hard working crew and the thousands of fans with a race finish.
The last Safety Car period did not assist Blanchard’s quest for the Top 10 as a stall as he exited the pits dropped him off the battle group of Holdsworth, Alex Davison and Webb. Blanchard defended strongly from Coulthard in the closing stages to ensure DJR a 15th position at the Great Race. The final leg of the Pirtek Endurance Cup takes place on the Gold Coast in two weeks time.
Tim Blanchard - #12 – Advam Falcon
“It really was a smooth day in the Advam Falcon. We had a very good Warm Up session this morning, and Ash and I were very happy with the cars balance and tyre life. We moved up well in the early stages and by mid race we were well inside the Top 10. Our Pit Stop strategy was working for us but that late Safety Car caught us out a bit. Five laps either side would have been good for us but it was not to be. It was big weekend for the team so I was pleased we could get a Top 15 finish for the guys.”
Ash Walsh - #12 – Advam Falcon
“It was great to get a strong result after Sandown. I am pretty happy the way it went. I have never triple stinted before and I was feeling it at the end. It was great to have my first race with a team like DJR. They have so many fans and they really get behind you. Tim and I pushed hard all day and I think we showed that we could really run in a very competitive position. A Top 15 is great for my first time here at Bathurst.”
Chaz Mostert - #17 – Wilson Security / Greens’ – Tuf Falcon
“It was a tough initiation to Bathurst for sure. I mucked up in the Pit Stop stalling the car, and then the starter motor wouldn’t kick in. After the big shunt I had in Practice I am surprised that there were some other things that could have gone wrong. The boys had done a great job getting Green’s – Tuf back on track. Woody started and did a good job to get through the PLP and get back on the tail of the field and I reckon we could have pushed well up the field. Of course it is great that a Ford won today even if it is not one of ours!”
Dale Wood - #17 – Wilson Security / Greens’ – Tuf Falcon
“I think we were actually looking a lot better in the race than it may have shown. We had a pit stop up our sleeve and were trucking along quite well. It all turned south pretty quickly as it only takes one little thing like the starter motor problem and it is all over. It was a shame to see it slip away as the boys did a fantastic job on the car. Seeing the crowd cheering for the Greens’ – Tuf Falcon on the warm up laps was very special.”