TICKFORD RACING – MOUNT PANORAMA 500 SATURDAY REPORT
27 February, 2021
An early Safety Car in Race 1 of the Mount Panorama 500 allowed Jack Le Brocq (No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang) to capitalise on track position to finish sixth in the season opening race of the 2021 Supercars season, while a power steering issue kept Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) from converting pole position into valuable points on Saturday.
Le Brocq pitted early in Race 1 after starting 15th and was rewarded with track position following a Lap 6 Safety Car which kept him well inside the top 10 for most of the 40-lap race. Running as high as fifth at the midway point of the race, Le Brocq took the chequered flag in sixth, the highest finisher of the Tickford Racing trio.
While the early Safety Car helped Le Brocq, James Courtney (No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang) was hurt by the same event, as Courtney pitted at the end of Lap 6 with the majority of the field. Courtney lost valuable time double stacking behind Waters in pit lane, dropping to 16th after the stop, however clever strategy and heads up driving saw the 2010 champion climb to eighth at the chequered flag.
Waters started his Saturday afternoon by taking his second consecutive pole at Bathurst, following on from his Bathurst 1000 pole in 2020, but encountered troubles early in the 250-kilometre race. An issue with the power steering in the No. 6 Mustang forced Waters to pit immediately after his Lap 6 pit stop, where he lost six laps before re-joining the race to be classified and pick up valuable championship points.
A second chance at the Mountain beckons on Sunday, with Race 2 qualifying at 10:05 a.m. AEDT followed by a Top Ten Shootout at 12:10 p.m., ahead of another 250-kilometre race at 3:00.
No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang
Jack Le Brocq
Race 1 Quali: 2m05.39s, 15th
Top Ten Shootout: n/a
Race 1 Finish: 6th
“It was an interesting one. The guys did an awesome job with the strategy there, we were probably a little lucky with the Safety Car but we didn’t have as much fuel on, so the second pit stop hurt us a little bit, but the car is really good and I’m pretty happy with that. It was pretty hard there at the end, I didn’t know how many laps were left. We had no radio for the last 15 laps so I was coming out of the last corner, trying to have a look to see if the chequered flag was out because Jamie (Whincup) was closing in, but it was okay. We got through it, and I was pretty happy to see the chequered flag at the end.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
Race 1 Quali: 2m04.59s, 3rd
Top Ten Shootout: 2m05.60s, 1st
Race 1 Finish: 20th
“Pretty good day to start with, obviously the pole was pretty cool. I got a pretty good start and just settled into the rhythm, and two laps before that Safety Car I kind of felt the power steering start to go, and as the Safety Car came out it pretty well completely failed by that point. I think it was just the power steering pump fialed, I’m not 100 per cent sure why yet, but a massive shame. We had a pacey car and I think we were on for a podium, 100 per cent, in that race. We win together, we lose together as a team, and there’s nothing really we could’ve done about that. It was a brand new pump with a brand new race car, which you would have thought reliability would be 100 per cent. We’ll regroup overnight and we’ll try and bounce back tomorrow.”
No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang
Race 1 Quali: 2m05.14s, 11th
Top Ten Shootout: n/a
Race 1 Finish: 8th
“The day was pretty crazy to be honest, mate. I was a bit disappointed through qualifying, I didn’t get the most out of that last run, it wasn’t clean, so we started the day on the back foot. I managed to have a clean start, the initial launch was good and then the second phase bogged quite hard. I had to bang doors quite a bit in the first lap, which was a bit of fun, then as the race settled down and we had that first initial Safety Car. Unfortunately we had to double stack behind Cam and they had a power steering issue so they lifted the bonnet and it was all a little bit long, so that was unfortunate. But it was great foresight for Brad (Wischusen) to keep the fuel on, so we just pumped as much fuel as we could through that point. Then we ran really long through the middle bit and at that initial stage got held up in a little man train, but once we started to pick through them and had some clear track it was really quite good, (I was) able to make up some good ground. And that last stop was quite slick from the boys, and fresh bags, low fuel, it’s a good time around here, mate. I was lunging some guys, I didn’t want to get stuck in a man train again so I was pretty aggressive with some big, big moves down into the Elbow, but we came out of the thing straight and we’re all smiling. It was good to have that recovery and come back through to eighth. It would have been lovely to not have the dramas we had, but it’s a championship. It’s a long run, and we have a straight car, and we get to do it all again tomorrow. It’s good to be the first Boost Mobile Mustang – or Boost Mobile car to be honest, in either make – so we’re pumped, and we’ll have another crack tomorrow.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“Certainly it was a frustrating day with what happened to Cam, but there were some positives at the same time from Jack and JC’s end of things. Jack drove a great, solid race to come home sixth, and JC had to have been one of the most active drivers out there to claw back to eighth. Unfortunately for Cam it was just one of those small things that can ruin a day. Once the team found the issue and fixed it the car worked fine, so we should be all good for tomorrow, it’s just a shame to have it happen when the day was going so well. That said all three cars are straight and pretty quick, and we’ll have another crack tomorrow so we’ll be looking for a little redemption.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Zak Best (No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X) made an impressive debut with Tickford Racing in Saturday’s Dunlop Super2 Series opener, climbing from eighth starting position to finish fourth. The result is a Super2 career-best for the 19-year old from Benalla, who praised the race pace of his No. 78 Ford on Saturday.
Super2 continues its Bathurst weekend on Sunday with Race 2 qualifying at 9:30 a.m. AEDT, and the 12-lap race at 1:40 p.m.
No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X
Race 1 Quali: 2m07.05s, 8th
Race 1 Finish 4th
“Quali was a little bit disappointing considering the pace we showed in practice, but I got a solid start in the race and just pushed forward. I used some of that used tyre pace we knew we had from practice, made a nice move down the pit straight to get to P4, and trucked on to the end. We showed some good speed today so hopefully I can put a quick lap together in quali tomorrow and stick it up the front for Race 2.”
SUPERCARS DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Shane van Gisbergen – 150 points
2) Chaz Mostert – 138
3) Will Davison – 129
6) Jack Le Brocq – 102
8) James Courtney – 90
20) Cam Waters – 45
SUPERCARS TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Walkinshaw Andretti United – 249 points
2) Triple Eight Race Engineering – 246
3) Team 18 – 168
6) Tickford Racing (6/44) – 135
SUPER2 DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Broc Feeney – 150 points
2) Angelo Mouzouris – 138
3) Jordan Boys – 129
4) Zak Best – 120