TICKFORD RACING – THE BEND SUPERSPRINT SATURDAY REPORT
30 July, 2022
Tickford Racing scored a strong day on Saturday at the OTR SuperSprint, led by Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) finishing fourth in Race 21, however the story of the day was wildcard entry Zak Best (No. 78 Tickford Racing Ford Mustang), finishing fifth after taking pole position for Race 21 early on Saturday afternoon.
It is Waters’ fifth straight top five finish and eighth in the last nine races, as the 27-year old retains third in the Supercars drivers’ championship. Waters, who started third, was in position to finish on the podium before locking a tyre on Lap 17, ultimately dropping a place to his final finishing position.
After posting impressive times in Saturday’s first two practice sessions, it was 20-year old Best who stunned the paddock by taking pole position for Race 21, becoming the youngest pole sitter in Supercars history. Making just his fifth Supercars race start, Best led the field after a strong start, and led the first 10 laps of Race 21, re-joining the race effectively in fifth place following his Lap 11 pit stop, which is where the Dunlop Super2 Series regular finished the 24-lap contest. The result is the best finish for a Supercars wildcard, and gives Best plenty of confidence heading into Sunday’s racing.
Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang) started and finished 11th in Race 21, which was an uneventful but solid race for the 26-year old, however the rookie believes he has more performance to find in the No. 55 Mustang and is keen to get back on track on Sunday.
Qualifying did not go to plan for James Courtney (No. 5 Snowy River Caravans Ford Mustang), who cited a locked brake for his 16th place starting position. Courtney used strategy to move forward in the 24-lap race, ultimately finishing 14th in Race 21, but is confident he can factor in the top 10 on Sunday.
It was a frustrating Saturday for Jake Kostecki (No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang, who battled mechanical gremlins in Practice 1 and later qualified 20th for Race 21. The 22-year old’s race came undone when he was hit with a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane during his Lap 5 pit stop, and without a Safety Car or retirements from other cars, ultimately circulated to take the chequered flag in 27th position.
The OTR SuperSprint concludes on Sunday with Race 22 and 23 qualifying at 9:35 a.m. ACST, followed by Race 22 at 12:30 p.m., and Race 23 at 3:40 p.m.
No. 5 Snowy River Caravans Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m49.42s, 11th
Practice 2: 1m48.99s, 18th
Race 21 Quali: 1m48.84s (Q2),16th
Race 21 Finish: 14th
“We didn’t have the cleanest run in practice and through quali to be honest. Quali was my bad, I grabbed the brake into (Turn) 13 and lost a bit of time, we should have been in the 10 so that’s on me. In the race we had drama getting off the line with the clutch, lost a few positions, then wrestled back past a few guys. We pitted on (Lap 9) and then it was all about managing the tyres, Lee (Holdsworth) came back at me pretty hard with a fresh set of tyres and that made things a bit challenging, but I kept it in front of him and came home 14th, it’s not the result we were after, but it’s points, it’s a finish. We have some stuff to work on tonight, I’m sure I’ll clean up quali for tomorrow and we’ll be back at the front and hopefully have a good weekend.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m49.36s, 10th
Practice 2: 1m48.38s, 3rd
Race 21 Quali: 1m47.94s (Q3), 3rd
Race 21 Finish: 4th
“Not a bad day for us, we started third and finished fourth. We were running up in third for most of the race, but then I had a lock up by myself and yeah, dropped a spot and flat-spotted the tyre so I had to battle at the end just to bring it home. I’m a bit disappointed with myself, but P4 is a good day, all in all. Awesome day for Zakky, shout out to him, he did an amazing job. Bring on tomorrow.”
No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m49.52s, 14th
Practice 2: 1m48.47s, 5th
Race 21 Quali: 1m48.64s (Q2), 11th
Race 21 Finish: 11th
“We had a pretty good race today. We qualified 11th and we finished 11th, so we’re getting ever so closer to that top 10 finish. I’m super happy for the whole Castrol Racing gang, the car was really good, the pit stop was awesome, I just had to do a better job in qualifying myself and I think we would have had a better race up the front. We will go again tomorrow with another two qualifying’s and two races, and it would be really cool if we could crack into that top 10.”
No. 56 Tradie Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m50.14s, 25th
Practice 2: 1m49.07s, 20th
Race 21 Quali: 1m49.14s (Q2) 20th
Race 21 Finish: 27th
“Unfortunately it was a pretty tough day for the Tradie Mustang. We lost some time in Practice 1 with an oil leak, it put us off our program a bit and we couldn’t quite get the car in the window the rest of practice, and then qualified 20th which obviously isn’t where we want to be. I had a decent start in the race and moved up a couple spots, we stopped early to try and undercut some guys but got done for speeding in the lane, and then just drove around after that. Pretty frustrating day, but we have some quick cars in the team, so we’ll look to learn from them and make our car better for tomorrow.”
No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Mustang
Practice 1: 1m48.92s, 3rd
Practice 2: 1m48.75s, 9th
Race 21 Quali: 1m47.82s (Q3), 1st
Race 21 Finish: 5th
“It was a great day today. Pole, I did not expect that. Really awesome, I’m still speechless, just a great, great day. We exceeded all expectations; I got it off the line in the race, had a really good race at the start and held Shane off for 10 laps. We had a little bit of a battle then we made our stop, then just pressed on and had some good strong pace on old tyres. Fifth is awesome, we had good pace all day and surprised a lot of people, and we’ll have a go at it tomorrow and try to do more of the same.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, right? Obviously Zak stole the show today, even speaking with him after qualifying none of us could believe he had put it on pole. But he did a great job and he drove a great race as well. It’s bloody hard to get a top five in this category so it’s a huge credit to Zak and the team to have the day they did. Cam coming home in fourth is solid, it says a lot about the level he’s at when we can say we’re a tad disappointed with that result, but it’s good for his championship to keep finishing at the front. Thomas was solid and JC had a good race moving forward, obviously we’ll want him qualifying in the 10 tomorrow, and Jake unfortunately got nailed for speeding on his stop, with no Safety Car his race was pretty well shot then. It was a good day all up, and all the cars are straight which is a positive, we’ll do our homework tonight and look to come back for another strong day tomorrow.”
SUPERCARS DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Shane van Gisbergen – 1986 points
2) Anton de Pasquale – 1663
3) Cam Waters – 1631
11) James Courtney – 1059
21) Thomas Randle – 721
22) Jake Kostecki – 687
SUPERCARS TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Triple Eight Race Engineering – 3307 points
2) Dick Johnson Racing – 3276
3) Tickford Racing (5/6) – 2690
10) Tickford Racing (55/56) – 1408