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Live Diary: Newcastle 500 2018

SUNDAY

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
Qualifying –  Sixth (Fastest Lap: 1:10.5554)
Top Ten Shootout –  Seventh
Race 2 –  Third
Championship –  Third (3,433 points)

“I’m happy. We just didn’t get it right for qualifying, we qualified P7 but we did a great job today to come back and finish third and get on the podium. The reason we didn’t win is because we qualified too poorly, but we think we know why, and we can learn from it – we’re forever learning the car. All in all, it’s been a great year and I’m really proud of everyone in the team, you can’t win them all. A big congrats to Scotty (McLaughlin) and the car 17 crew, they did a great job all year and certainly deserve the number one on the car next year – I’m looking forward to bringing 88 back. Today didn’t go to plan for Shane’s championship – Shane (van Gisbergen) and Grant (McPherson, Car #97 Race Engineer) did a great job, they pushed those guys all year. I hate plucking one little incident and I hate just talking about one thing that happened on the last weekend – championships are about the results across the whole year, so they did a great job. Unfortunately, we finished P2, it always hurts more finishing P2, I’ve been there a few times myself, but overall, he (Shane van Gisbergen) did a great job and we’ll be bigger and better next year. I haven’t felt this tired in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to chilling out.”

Coates Hire Newcastle 500 event 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Newcastle, New South Wales. Australia. November 25th 2018.

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Qualifying –  Second (Fastest Lap: 1:10.4274)
Top Ten Shootout –  Third
Race 2 –  Fifth
Championship –  Second (3,873 points)

“It was a tough one, I obviously got the news of the penalty this morning and everyone was so dejected by it and we couldn’t get going. We ended up qualifying third and we just got stuck behind people in the race and couldn’t progress as hard as we tried. We tried pitting early and then, unfortunately we had a problem with marbles and it broke the guards. Overall, it was still a pretty awesome year with what we’ve done with these new cars. Especially the way we recovered mid-season, we had an average start and then it got better and better. It was just tough, but it is what it is. They (DJR Team Penske) have been awesome competitors the last two years, and it’s good for them to win it – they just made less mistakes and we were as fast as them this year, but they got the job done, so congrats to their team. We still won the Teams’ Championship, that’s the best thing and everyone was stoked about that at the last round. That one gets forgotten pretty easily but that’s a massive thing for our team. We’re all pretty proud of that.”

Coates Hire Newcastle 500 event 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Newcastle, New South Wales. Australia. November 23rd 2018.

SATURDAY

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
Qualifying –  Second (Fastest Lap: 1:10.6597)
Race 1 –  Fourth 

“We started with a front row lockout which is great, and I got a great start and was able to get car 97 through. Then we pushed on, the car was quick, and we were in a great spot. I always knew the racing was going to be hard with Fabian (Coulthard), but I didn’t expect it to be that hard. So, we were in the fence and unfortunately that was a big dampener on our day. We pushed hard all the way to the end and, to come back to P4 considering what happened, and when our best possible position was second, is a pretty good result. It was a great day for the team, and a good day for the sport, for it to come down to two points on the last day. I think it’s fantastic. What a race, there are so many of those fuel races where it comes down to nothing – they took some risks and some days it pays off, some days it doesn’t. I wish they had have run out of fuel a bit earlier, so I could’ve been on the podium. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, it’s the last day of school.”

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Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Qualifying –  First (Fastest Lap: 1:10.6430)
Race 1 –  First

“It was hard to get a good start on the inside row with that line of paint, Jamie (Whincup) was able to let me go, which was awesome. I had some really good pace, but I burnt my tyres up on the first stint. I struggled at the start of the second stint but then I got going, it was an awesome race. At the end, I was saving fuel, I thought it was all over when we had to come back into the pits but somehow, I was able to save fuel, which saved my tyres and we had plenty of speed at the end. It’s crazy but it’s perfect for tomorrow, it sets up a great race, winner takes all. There’s a couple of points between us and they (DJR Team Penske) are in good form but we’re good as well. We’ve got the team and the car to do it so we’ve just got to turn up.”

Coates Hire Newcastle 500 event 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Newcastle, New South Wales. Australia. November 24th 2018.

FRIDAY

Jamie Whincup – Car #1
Practice 1 –  16th (Fastest Time: 1:11.5788)
Practice 2 –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:10.5626)

“I finished practice in P2 and there’s nothing really to report, we got through our program and we pushed pretty hard. We didn’t maximise our last set of tyres but then again no one did – no one went fast on their greens at the end. It was a bit of a weird session, the wind was playing a fair bit of havoc, not so much moving the car around, but just a lot of dirt, dust and debris. I ran over two hats – someone lost their Akubra at turn nine and there was a cowboy hat somewhere else – and there was a big palm tree that fell at turn two, so it’s mainly the debris and the dirt that made the track a lot slower than last year. All in all, it was sweet and sour, we’re happy to be somewhere up the front there, but at the same time we would’ve like to be quicker and maximise our last run. We’ve got a lot of info to go through tonight to make ourselves better for tomorrow.”

Coates Hire Newcastle 500 event 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Newcastle, New South Wales. Australia. November 23rd 2018.

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 1 –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:10.8833)
Practice 2 –  Seventh (Fastest Time: 1:10.8342)

“Today was alright, it was a good day, it’s very challenging with the wind and that was a variable that everyone had to deal with. The track is awesome, we got up to speed in the first session, but we probably didn’t get the most out of it in the second session.  We’ve got to look at that, the theoretical time is there, we just need to get it together. There’s no practice tomorrow so of course there is pressure, but we know the car is quick and Jamie is second so there’s lots we can look at there. I don’t think we’re too bad.”

Coates Hire Newcastle 500 event 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Newcastle, New South Wales. Australia. November 23rd 2018.