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Live Diary: Townsville 2019

Sunday 7 July

6:15pm – Team hugged, media boxes ticked, Red Bull drunk. Now it’s time to hear what the drivers actually thought.

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Qualifying – 12th (Fastest Time: 1:12.5080)
Top Ten Shootout – N/A
Race 2 – DNF
Championship – Sixth (1,528 points)

“DC (David Cauchi, Race Engineer) did a good job with the strategy. It was good and the car was fast. I just made a mistake. The car wobbled off the kerb and the slippery concrete and into the fence. It’s a sweet and sour day – I’m so ramped for SVG. Wins are hard to come by at the moment, so to get a win in those conditions is unbelievable.”

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Qualifying – Fourth (Fastest Time: 1:12.3425)
Top Ten Shootout – Sixth (Lap Time: 1:12.8790)
Race 2 – FIRST
Championship – Third (1,669 points)

“It was really tough. I was struggling a lot and I had no grip on the slicks at the start and then it got better and then after the safety car I had zero grip. Then we did a good job at the pit stop, fueling the car up to have enough to get to the end. It was the right call, we pitted on the right lap. I had zero grip, so I was struggling to keep focus, but Shippy (Grant McPherson, Race Engineer) was really good, giving me the right messages of what we had to do and I just tried to make no mistakes. As a team victory, that’s the biggest team victory there is. That’s one in the sheds there and I was the lucky guy to be driving the right car. Jamie looked like he had a good start, he was catching us and going well, so it’s a real shame he had a DNF. Hopefully the car’s not damaged too badly. For us as a team, I think it’s a huge leap forwards this weekend in performance, so hopefully we can carry it on.”

Shave van Gisbergen wins for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team at the WATPAC Townsville 400 Event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland. Australia. 5th-7th July 2019. Jamie Whincup DNFs for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team at the WATPAC Townsville 400 Event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland. Australia. 5th-7th July 2019.

4:50pm – SVG wins in Townsville!

4:45pm – FIRE IN PIT LANE!! Actually, two fires in pit lane.

3:50pm – It’s day done for JDub 😥 too much kerb at turn six sent him into the wall.

2:40pm – Pit exit has opened. And it’s raining. 😬

2:30pm – The Triple Eight Super2 crew are AWESOME!

1:25pm – Grab yourself a can of wings and you could find yourself and your crew at the Bathurst 1000 for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Want to find out how? Click here to check it out.

12:55pm – That wasn’t the ideal outcome from the shootout. Shane will start this afternoon’s race from third.

11:35am – We’ve got 45 minutes until the shootout. How does Shane fill his time? Watching more racing, of course 😎

11:00am – Ok, so that plan might have only half worked. SVG will head into the shootout, but Jamie qualified P12 after taking a different direction with the setup to try to find some extra wings.

10:35am – Qualy time! The aim of this game? To get both cars into the top 10 to proceed to the shootout.

10:05am – Time to watch the T8 Super2 crew in action for qualy. Fingers crossed they come away with another pole!

9:15am – Signing, signing, signing away 🖊 Also, Lowndesy is spying on us from the Fox Sports cube. He’s jealous. We can tell.

8:10am – We’re visiting our friends at the Holden fan zone. Come say hi!

6:45am – Let’s go one podium step better today 👊

Saturday 6 July

5:45pm – And here’s the drivers’ wrap before we let them dig into some well-earned dinner.

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Practice 3 – Fifth (Fastest Time: 1:12.6045)
Qualifying – Sixth (Fastest Time: 1:12.3763)
Race 1 – Second

“We were very aggressive with strategy, which is dangerous, but we pulled it off today. The only strategy better than what we did was to have a faster car, which is what happened with car 17 and why we ran second. Unfortunately we haven’t made a step forward, but we’ve made a step sideways, so there might be a bit more fish in this pond we’re fishing now. I’m much happier doing that than just belting round doing the same thing. We’re happy with the progress, we’ve just got to keep grinding away. We’ll get there, but it’s going to take some time. I did have fun, for sure. I enjoyed the battles with Chaz (Mostert), it was gnarly.”

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 3 – 18th (Fastest Time: 1:12.9741)
Qualifying – Fourth (Fastest Time: 1:12.3239)
Race 1 – Fourth

“Qualifying was okay, we’ve made some big improvements with the cars, tried a lot of theories and there seems to be some progress, which is good. In some ways I’m disappointed but happy with the race. We didn’t get the strategy right, but I had good battles and I was able to fight with people and Jamie got second, so it’s pretty exciting. But on the other hand, I had a much better car than fourth, so that’s why it’s exciting, but disappointing because we didn’t make the most of it. I had a bent rim in the first stint, but it didn’t really affect me. Then we got caught out running long in the middle stint, with all the people who had taken their second stop with good tyres trying to pass us, so we lost a few seconds there, which cost us a podium.”

WATPAC Townsville 400 Event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland. Australia. 5th-7th July 2019. Jamie Whincup of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team on the podium at the Townsville 400

4:50pm – That strategy though! And mega driving, pit stops and car pace of course. Jamie takes a podium in second and Shane snatches fourth in the dying seconds.

3:15pm – That was  a STRESSFUL first five minutes of the race 😱

2:40pm – Pit exit is open and it’s time to get this Townsville show properly on the road. The sky is looking ominous, but the weather gurus tell us it’s nothing to worry about. We’ll believe you after the race…

1:05pm – Fanboying over these beasts.

12:45pm – All finished, positive results. We can make something happen from here!

11:45am – Let’s get those wings out for qualy!

10:30am – Our final practice run of the weekend is done. JDub takes P5 while SVG didn’t do a green tyre run and ended the session P18.

9:45am – BOOM! Kurt Kostecki and the Triple Eight Super2 crew take pole position. Well done, team, we’re crazy proud of the #T8fam.

Kurt Kostecki and Triple Eight Race Engineering take pole position at the Townsville 400

9:35am – How do drivers prepare from practice? By watching Super2 qualifying of course!

8:40am – We’re signing away at the official RBHRT trackside store. If you haven’t grabbed your kit yet, don’t forget that you can order online.

7:30am – Nothing like some early morning pit stop practice to get the blood pumping.

7:00am – Yesterday finished pretty well, now let’s go better 👊


Friday 5 July

3:20pm – Done, dusted and happy… for the most part. Here’s how the day’s results played out:

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Practice 1Seventh (Fastest Time: 01:23.9310)
Practice 216th (Fastest Time: 01:13.2856)

“Our test plan got cut in half because of the weather this morning, so we only did two of the four things we wanted to test and I’m not sure about the car to be honest. It didn’t feel that nice at the end, but it might have been a bit faster, so it’s a matter of looking at the data now to see if it was better or worse. I missed the chequered flag by about a second and a half, but I didn’t feel competitive on the last run, so that’s a bit of a worry. Hopefully the data says something different, but we’ve got some work to do.”

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 122nd (Fastest Time: 01:27.1361)
Practice 2 Second (Fastest Time: 01:12.6904)

“Practice one was a bit of fun. We didn’t have any old wets so we didn’t want to wreck new ones, so it was quite good to just go and slide around and learn how to drive again after being spoiled in Japan with ABS and traction control in the Triple Eight GT car. That was quite fun! In the second session we had a whole heap to cram in because we missed practice one really. I think on both cars we learnt a lot, so that was good and we had some speed. I think we made progress and we understood a lot. The car wasn’t nice to drive, but it was fast, so now we just need to make it comfortable.”

WATPAC Townsville 400 Event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland. Australia. 5th-7th July 2019. WATPAC Townsville 400 Event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville, Queensland. Australia. 5th-7th July 2019.

2:30pm – Woohoo, it’s dry! Let’s hit the track and see what magic we can conjure up 😎

1:15pm – These Porsches are making this corporate Q&A quite tricky…

12:40pm – Are you coming down to meet the drivers? The brollies are out, but we’re still here signing away 🖊

11:30am – That session was altogether quite useless. SVG had some fun on hard tyres, then called it a day halfway through, leaving car 88 to find whatever nuggets of wisdom can come from wet running. That left him in 22nd, but JDub in seventh.

10:55am – It’s kick off for practice 1! It’s pretty greasy out there with this drizzle, so it might be a long old 30 minutes.

9:40am – This is mega! Our friends at Tony Ireland Holden have donated a whopping $100,000 to the Townsville flood appeal and the guys were on hand to present the cheque.

Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen present $100,000 cheque from Tony Ireland Holden to the Townsville flood appeal

8:45am – We’ve just finished showing our M8s around the Red Bull Holden garage, which got us thinking (uh-oh… 😉) that we should let you guys know that there is still a small handful of T8M8 Platinum memberships up for grabs. Would you like to take a flying trip around Queensland Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park or The Bend? Then this is right up your street! Click here to find out more.

7:30am – Good morning, Townsville! Tell you what, we’ve been hanging to get on track here, it’s one of our favourite spots on the calendar. Today’s the day!