TICKFORD RACING – MELBOURNE 400 FRIDAY REPORT
8 April, 2022
The first Supercars race day at the Melbourne 400 is complete with disappointing results for Tickford Racing amid some competitive racing. With the uncertainty surrounding the new track surface at Albert Park and the durability of the Dunlop Soft tyre, drama with strategy contributed to disappointing results for all four Tickford Mustangs on Friday.
Jake Kostecki (No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang) started the day qualifying 20th for Saturday’s Race 8 and 19th for Sunday’s Race 9 of the 2022 Supercars Championship. In Friday’s Race 6, Kostecki scored his best result of the season thus far, finishing 12th in his Tradie Ford Mustang however was handed a 15-second penalty post-race for a driving infringement, dropping him to 15th. Kostecki started the 20-lap race on the Soft tyre, changing to the Hard tyre compound at his compulsory pit stop while the other three Tickford Fords started on the Hard tyre and changed to the Soft compound.
Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) had a solid outing on Friday morning, qualifying 11th and fifth for Races 8 and 9 respectively. However, Waters’ Race 6 was hindered by having to pit twice due to the rapid degradation of the Soft tyres, he finished 18th.
James Courtney (No. 500 FLEX Ford Mustang) celebrated his 500th race with some tough wheel-to-wheel action in his new-look FLEX Power Tools Mustang. Courtney started the day qualifying sixth for Race 8 and tenth for Race 9, however the 2010 Supercars champion encountered the same tyre woes as Waters, making two stops in Race 6 en route to a 20th place finish.
Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang) started his Friday with roller coaster qualifying results, leaving him starting 16th for Race 8 but a new career-best fourth for Sunday’s Race 9. Randle’s excitement was unfortunately temporary, with the 26-year old finishing 21st in Race 6 after facing the same issues as Waters and Courtney in Friday afternoon’s race.
Supercars action continues at the Melbourne 400 Saturday morning with Race 7 taking place at 10:25 a.m. and Race 8 starting at 2:20 p.m. AEST.
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
Race 8 Quali: 1m46.93s, 11th
Race 9 Quali: 1m45.55s, 5th
Race 6 Start: 7th
Race 6 Finish: 18th
“Today was tough, we just had the same problem as everyone else trying to run the Softs too long and had to make a second stop, and obviously that ruined our race. It’s frustrating, we found an issue last night that was hurting us on Thursday so we fixed that up and the car felt pretty racy, I felt we could’ve been up in the top five today, at least. The car’s better than we’ve shown so far, we just need to put everything together and I think we’ll be much happier.”
No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
Race 8 Quali: 1m47.08s, 16th
Race 9 Quali: 1m45.54s, 4th
Race 6 Start: 9th
Race 6 Finish: 21st
“Unfortunately today’s race was pretty shocking for us, we had a pretty similar strategy to Cam and JC, and sadly pretty similar results. We started on Hards and pitted early to get out of traffic and onto Softs, then obviously the Softs started delaminating after only seven or eight laps and we had to stop again. It’s really frustrating, but really it was either make a second stop or risk having a huge crash, so it was all we could do. I don’t think anyone expected it to be that severe, but we all know now and we’ll definitely make some changes to avoid having those problems the rest of the weekend. On the positive side, ”
No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang
Race 8 Quali: 1m47.42s, 20th
Race 9 Quali: 1m46.39s, 19th
Race 6 Start: 25th
Race 6 Finish: 15th
“It was a pretty busy race. Starting from the back we started on Softs to try and pick up some spots, but going into Turn 3 on the second lap I had a huge lock up trying to not run over Andre (Heimgartner) and Jack (Le Brocq), and flat spotted my tyres pretty badly so I had to come in. It wasn’t ideal, and we got penalised for the thing with Andre, but seeing what happened to the guys who tried to run Softs long, our strategy was the better of the two. We finished 12th but the penalty dropped us to 15th which is frustrating, but I think the car was okay. We can still do some things to make it better, so we’ll try to improve it overnight and move forward tomorrow.”
No. 500 FLEX Ford Mustang
Race 8 Quali: 1m46.78s, 6th
Race 9 Quali: 1m45.68s, 10th
Race 6 Start: 10th
Race 6 Finish: 20th
“It definitely wasn’t the way I hoped my 500th race would go, certainly wish there was something better to celebrate. We just ended up with the same dramas as everyone else who tried to put the Softs on early, there was very little tyre degradation in practice but we never ran the Softs for long so we couldn’t see what it would do over a long run, then obviously we all learned it in the race today. You’d get a handful of laps into a stint then the rears would start to delaminate and give you a terrible vibration from the rear, it was pretty sketchy and unfortunately meant we had to stop a second time. The car feels pretty good pace-wise so it’s disappointing to have that happen, but we’ll take it on the chin and go again tomorrow.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“It was a bit of a guessing game going into today’s race, and unfortunately we guessed wrong. We didn’t have a chance to do long runs in practice so it was difficult to predict how long the tyres would last, as it turned out the Soft tyre couldn’t cope with more than a handful of laps before it started blistering and ultimately it became a danger to stay on the track. Three of our cars started on Hards and switched to Softs early, then unfortunately had to switch back to Hards later on to make it to the end. Definitely a frustrating way to start our weekend, but these things can happen with new track surfaces, so we’ll bank that knowledge and reshape our plans for tomorrow.”
SUPERCARS DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Shane van Gisbergen – 626 points
2) Anton de Pasquale – 513
3) Chaz Mostert – 492
7) Cam Waters – 407
13) James Courtney – 316
22) Thomas Randle – 201
23) Jake Kostecki – 173
SUPERCARS TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Triple Eight Race Engineering – 1053 points
2) Dick Johnson Racing – 981
3) Walkinshaw Andretti United – 807
5) Tickford Racing (5/6) – 723
11) Tickford Racing (55/56) – 374