Phillip Island Race Report

We took the short drive down the freeway to Phillip Island for the start of the ‘Season of Endurance’.

Greg Ritter and Marcus Marshall have joined the team for the endurance events in 2011.

Friday we hit the track for 3 practice sessions.

The 33 car with Lee and Greg behind the wheel was at the top of the timesheets for pretty well much of the day (Practice 1 – 4th, Practice 2 – 5th and Practice 3 – 6th). They shared the driving duties across the day and Greg got his eye in quickly.

Robbo and Marcus were debuting the GRM 13 chassis (lucky for some) this weekend! They used the practice sessions to tune the car further and continued to make some good progress (Practice 1 – 18th, Practice 2 – 24th and Practice 3 – 19th).

Saturday was a busy time for the crew as we were on track for 6 sessions across the day.

The day started with two practice sessions, and the focus was on a qualifying set up for the day ahead.

Our next two sessions on track were qualifying sessions for each driver to qualify for the afternoons qualifying races (confused yet – we still are after running this format for the 4th year!)

Robbo and Lee headed out in the first qualifying session and Greg and Marcus for the second.

The 34 car had a great qualifying session, with both boys settling well into the new chassis. Robbo qualified 4th and Marcus backed this up by qualifying 10th.

This was a great reward for all the crew’s effort in building and preparing the new chassis.

After showing good pace early in the weekend, Lee and Greg struggled with grip and weren’t able to replicate their early speed in qualifying. Lee qualified 13th and Greg 14th.

Qualifying race one, saw Lee and Robbo on track.

With 14 lap races these were over before we knew it.

Robbo didn’t get the best start dropping a few spots, he came home in 8th and Lee in 11th.

We also needed to complete one pit stop for each car across the two races, as we didn’t complete this in the first race Greg and Marcus needed to complete this in their races.

Greg had a great start, and on the first lap ended up behind Marcus, causing excitement in the garage. He had an excellent pit stop from the boys, making up two places to finish 16th.

Marcus got too much wheel spin off the line and lost a few spots, he recovered well and ran around and stayed out of trouble, finishing 18th.

After combining the points from the qualifying races Robbo and Marcus had qualified 13th and Lee and Greg 16th.

After a very hectic day for the crew, they were able to sit down and enjoy a feast by our internationally acclaimed chef, Cookie.

The Sunday morning warm up session allowed the team to make final preparations for the 500km race.

Robbo and Greg started the race, but the initial race start was aborted when the #2 HRT car encountered problems on the grid.

Take 2, and Greg struggled to get off the line and dropped back in the pack and was turned around on lap 2 dropping to the rear of field. He slowly worked his way back through the field before pitting on lap 23, when Lee jumped in the car.

Robbo maintained his position in the early stages.

As others pitted he moved through the field, eventually leading the race before being the last car to pit on lap 35. There was a driver change during the stop and Marcus headed out for his stint.

Lee pitted on lap 58 with Greg getting back in the car for his final stint.

On lap 65 we saw a safety car for two geese crossing the track. They had been watching from the sidelines all weekend but decided that they wanted to get a little closer to the action!!

The final round of pits stops occurred on lap 80 for the 33 car with Lee back in the car and lap 90 for the 34 car with Robbo final stinting.
With our stops completed the 33 car was in 13th and 34 in 23rd.

Lee continued in a similar position for the remainder of the race coming home in 12th.

Robbo was able to make his way through the pack, making up a number of positions to finish 16th.

After a weekend that held a lot of expectation particularly after, a very successful test at Winton, we are now back in the workshop regrouping and have three weeks until we are on track at Bathurst.

Thank you again for all your continued support and we look forward to seeing everyone on the mountain.