Top 10 Result for Pye & Walsh in Saturday Race at Surfers
The first 300km of the Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600 developed into a game of strategy with Safety Cars and Pit Stops largely determining the outcome.
The Wilson Security Falcons were in the mix in each sector of the race, with both cars running at the front of field for many laps.
Earlier in the day, Qualifying was not kind to the #16 Falcon of Scott Pye when a Power Steering problem slowed his progress. A P22 starting position did not reflect the speed the car had shown in every practice session. The team took the decision to start Pye in the car with many co drivers around him to try and gain valuable track position.
David Wall showed good speed to put the iconic #17 DJR Ford in P15. Steve Johnson would start the car and was immediately on the move as the field roared away. A Lap 1 Safety Car was needed when Greg Murphy (HRT) and David Russell (Nissan) got together right at the starting line. When racing resumed, Steve Johnson was up to P11, while Pye headed for an early Pit Stop to top up fuel and allow him to run longer in the first two stints.
Johnson was soon in the Top 10 and would run a double stint before handing the car over to David Wall on Lap 51. As Johnson pitted just under the commencement of a Safety Car period, the team were caught out when the leader, Jamie Whincup, did not pit and the #17 Falcon went a lap down. From there they were chasing their tails as Wall had to cede places to the leaders as the Blue Flags were waived. A late race clash with the tyre bundles ripped the front splitter from the car and with another Pit Stop, they fell to P17.
Pye handed over to Ash Walsh on Lap 40 from first place after a gritty drive through the field. Walsh ran his mandatory laps and gave the car back to Scott on Lap 74 after keeping the Wilson Security Falcon in the Top 5 for most of his stint. He was hurting on worn tyres at the end as most of the cars he was competing with were on much fresher rubber.
Pye pushed on well after the Pit Stop and was back in the Top 10 on lap 79. He latched onto the tail of Scott McLaughlin (Volvo) and pushed him hard to the line recording another fine Top 10 performance finishing in P8.
The second 300km race of the Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600 takes place on Sunday.
Scott Pye – Wilson Security Racing Falcon #16
“I think it was probably the best we could do today. The Safety Cars did not fall our way and we ended up with Ash out there racing the main drivers on much fresher rubber. The car speed is good so it comes back to Qualifying to ensure we can use that performance speed in the race.
“The power steering issue in Qualifying hurt us but we did have a Top 10 car here today so we need to push hard tomorrow to capitalise on it.”
Ash Walsh - Wilson Security Racing Falcon #16
“The car was quite good and the boys did a good job in the pits. Starting down the back makes the day hard work but we both could run well inside the Top 10 for most of the race.
“I was pretty happy with my drive but there are a few things we need to tidy up for tomorrow and if we qualify well we should have a good day.”
David Wall - Wilson Security Racing Falcon #17
“Another lap with Steve in the car may have done us wonders, but we got caught when Whincup did not pit and fell down a lap. It was a shame about the front splitter; I was trying to drive to the time once we made up some ground to P11 but the splitter hit front face of the tyre bundles and decided it had had enough and hopped off! So P17 is not where we should have finished so we will get our race plans set again for tomorrow. The car is fast enough to get a good result.”
Steve Johnson - Wilson Security Racing Falcon #17
“We had a good first stint but I think we underestimated where the leader would be once we left the pits and it cost us a lap. You can be running in the top group but with a short lap here you can drop down.
“The first stint was awesome. I stayed out of trouble and got by quite a few cars and climbed well inside the Top 10. We were looking pretty good so we need to regroup tonight and go again tomorrow.”