TICKFORD RACING – MELBOURNE 400 THURSDAY REPORT
7 April, 2022
The first day of Supercars’ Melbourne 400 at the Australian Grand Prix proved a mixed bag for Tickford Racing, in which the team’s four Ford Mustangs showed promising speed at the Albert Park Circuit, but struggled to convert it into results in Thursday’s two qualifying sessions to start the third round of the 2022 Supercars season.
Debuting his new look Mustang with support from FLEX Power Tools, James Courtney (No. 500 FLEX-Wash It Ford Mustang) posted the second-fastest lap in Practice 2 and after qualifying tenth for Friday’s Race 6, the 2010 Supercars champion led the team with seventh in Race 7 qualifying.
Thursday’s qualifying results were similar Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang), who qualified seventh and 11th for Races 6 and 7 respectively, however the 27-year old showed strong pace across Thursday’s practice sessions offering Waters confidence in contending for more silverware in the weekend’s races.
Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang) celebrated his 26th birthday behind the wheel of the Castrol Racing Mustang, and qualified an impressive ninth for Race 6, the best such result of his still-young Supercars career. Randle later enjoyed taking the passenger seat as childhood hero and fellow Castrol-supported driver Fernando Alonso took the birthday boy for a handful of laps of the Albert Park circuit.
Supercars sophomore Jake Kostecki (No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang) showed top 10 pace in practice on Thursday, but the 22-year old’s day came undone during Race 6 qualifying, where he spun at Turn 5 and made heavy contact with the barriers. Kostecki was checked and cleared by medical staff following the incident, however did not register a lap in qualifying and as a result will start Races 6 and 7 from the 25th position.
Supercars action at the Melbourne 400 resumes Friday with qualifying for Races 8 and 9 – to take place on Saturday and Sunday, respectively – starting at 9:40 a.m. AEST, with the 20-lap Race 6 set to begin at 2:20 p.m.
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m48.34s, 12th
Practice 2: 1m46.57s, 14th
Race 6 Quali: 1m46.31s, 7th
Race 7 Quali: 1m45.67s, 11th
“Today was all right, we’re definitely quicker than what the timing sheets say, I just pinched a tyre at the wrong time on my flyer. I did it in practice and in the second quali as well, so not ideal but we can make something from where we are. It’s bloody fast out there, tricky conditions today too, but the car feels pretty good so I think we should move forward in the races.”
No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m50.97s, 25th
Practice 2: 1m45.56s, 7th
Race 6 Quali: 1m46.39s, 9th
Race 7 Quali: 1m46.48s, 23rd
“It’s always good to spend your birthday driving race cars, I have to say it’s been a pretty good one. Qualifying ninth for the first race was great, but in second qualifying I had a big moment at Turn 5 and was pretty lucky to get away with just a scratch on the end plate. It shows just how on edge it is driving a Supercar around here. Fortunately I think the car’s pretty quick, we’ll look at the data tonight and make some improvements for tomorrow for qualifying in the morning and a race in the afternoon, I’m looking forward to it.”
No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m50.28s, 24th
Practice 2: 1m45.73s, 9th
Race 6 Quali: no time, 25th
Race 7 Quali: no time, 25th
“It’s a really tough way to end the day. We had a decent car through practice and took a pretty big swing at the set up to try and tune it up for qualifying, but unfortunately it just made the car really loose and when I turned in at Turn 5 the car just went around. You have to trust the car quite a bit in corners like that and unfortunately when I committed the car didn’t stay settled and we ended up in the wall. I feel bad for the boys, it’ll be a big job but we’ll get it fixed up and try to tune it up for a better day tomorrow.”
No. 500 FLEX-Wash It Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m48.74s, 18th
Practice 2: 1m44.92s, 2nd
Race 6 Quali: 1m46.31s, 10th
Race 7 Quali: 1m45.34s, 7th
“It was a pretty solid start to the weekend for us, first off the FLEX Mustang looks great and it was pretty speedy today, too. We didn’t quite get the most of qualifying, unfortunately Jake’s crash brought out the red flag when I was on a really good lap, so it was a bit of a double whammy. Overall tenth and seventh are pretty reasonable places to start from, and the car feels pretty good, so we’ll work on it overnight and try to make more gains tomorrow.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“We certainly showed good speed today, but we didn’t make the most of it in qualifying, the worst of which of course being Jake’s crash. We’ll get the car repaired and the boys have done a great job working on it, but obviously it’s not the way we wanted to start the weekend. It does show the knife’s edge the drivers are on out there, and as fast as the track is it can certainly bite hard. The pace is there, so we’ll keep working at it and look to come out stronger in the morning.”