Tickford’s encouraging Friday pace in Sydney
November 20, 2021
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Waters scores podium in wild Race 29

TICKFORD RACING – SYDNEY SUPERNIGHT SATURDAY REPORT

20 November, 2021

In a roller coaster affair at Sydney Motorsport Park, Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) led Tickford Racing in Race 29 of the 2021 Supercars Championship with a third place finish after 250 kilometres of racing. The result is Waters’ 27th career Supercars podium and eighth of 2021, and coming after narrowly missing out on victory in the race’s final laps.

In a race where Tickford’s three Ford Mustangs spent most of Saturday’s race in the top four, Waters’ team mates Jack Le Brocq (No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang) finished 11th and James Courtney (No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang) 20th in a race where tyre strategy proved critical and Mother Nature dropped a late twist.

A Lap 7 Safety Car intervention set the scene for the Saturday race, in which all three of Tickford’s cars made their first of two compulsory pit stops and changed from the Hard compound Dunlop tyre to the quicker, more fragile Super Soft compound. Three of the only cars on Super Soft tyres when the race resumed on Lap 10, the trio quickly rose to the front of the field, and knowing their advantage would be reversed after their second stops, created a gap on the field before settling in to manage their tyre life across the rest of the stint.

All three of the Tickford cars made their second stops on Laps 33-35 and switched back to the Hard tyre for the second half of the 64-lap race. With cars on Super Soft tyres closing in, Le Brocq and Courtney began losing places with 10 laps to go while Waters retained the lead as rain started to fall on track. With their tyre disadvantage exacerbated by the slippery surface, all three dropped places in the race’s final laps, with Waters relinquishing the lead with just over three laps remaining.

Despite the mixed result, Waters and Courtney’s team pairing retains third in the Supercars teams’ championship heading into the penultimate race of the season on Sunday afternoon.

The Sydney SuperNight concludes on Sunday with Race 30 qualifying at 10:50 a.m. AEDT, followed by a Top Ten Shootout at 12:30 p.m., and another 64-lap, 250-kilometre race at 3:20.

DRIVERS’ VIEW
No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang
Jack Le Brocq
Practice 2: 1m30.47s, 10th
Race 29 Quali: 1m30.17s, 8th
Top Ten Shootout: 1m31.83s, 8th
Race 29 Finish: 11th

“All in all eleventh isn’t too bad, but it was definitely a tough way to finish. I didn’t get a great launch and dropped back a bit on the start, but with the Safety Car and everyone stopping we ended up back in the 10 on the restart. The tyre strategy was looking pretty good for us for a while, there weren’t many others on the Super Soft when we were so we were able to get out and away a bit. We knew we’d be in for a fight when we put the Hards back on but we were still in a pretty good spot until the rain really started coming down at the end. It never got wet enough to pit for wet tyres, but the guys on Super Softs had so much more grip at that point, and we just got knocked around and dropped some spots. In the end 11th is okay, but I think we have a better car than that, fortunately we get to do it all again tomorrow so we’ll try to improve the car a bit and hopefully get further up there.”

No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
Cam Waters
Practice 2: 1m30.74s, 16th
Race 29 Quali: 1m30.23s, 10th
Top Ten Shootout: 1m31.97s, 9th
Race 29 Finish: 3rd

“I have mixed emotions for sure, gutted to lose the lead so late in the race, but it’s absolutely awesome to get a podium for the boys. They’ve been working so hard and throwing so many changes at the cars, so it was nice to spray them with champagne for a change. I felt like we made some good gains today, the car felt pretty racy, more racy than the past few weeks here, so hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow and bank some more points. It’s tough losing the lead so close to the end, I’m confident we would’ve held on to win if that rain shower hadn’t come in during the last laps, but it is what it is. We’ll fight on to tomorrow and finish the weekend strong.”

No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang
James Courtney
Practice 2: 1m31.08s, 19th
Race 29 Quali: 1m31.13s, 23rd
Top Ten Shootout: n/a
Race 29 Finish: 20th

“That was pretty much the worst kind of roller coaster of a race I could imagine. We struggled this morning with qualifying and just finding the right balance, it’s been tough these past few weeks and we just haven’t nailed it yet. In the race I got a good start and picked off some guys, then with the Safety Car we had to stack behind Cam for a bit, but we ended up with all three of us Tickford car on the Super Softs with almost everyone else on the Hards, so we made hay with that and got to the front, we knew we’d be in for a battle at the end and we’d probably drop back a bit, but once the rain came that really did us in. For a bit it looked like we might’ve been on for a decent finish, but unfortunately it didn’t pan out for us. Brad (Wischusen, engineer) and the boys are working crazy hard to figure it out, we’ll give it another crack tomorrow and hopefully I can reward them with a better day.”

Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“I think we went through the full range of emotions in that race. We took a bit of a gamble to start on Hards and put on Super Softs at the first stop, being under Safety Car that allowed our cars to get to the front after the restart and the Super Softs held on a little longer than I think we expected, so for a while it was looking like a brilliant call. We knew we’d lose time in the last stint on Hards, but the gap we had built was pretty big so it was looking pretty good for all our cars, then the rain came. Once the track got wet the cars on Super Softs had an even bigger advantage, and unfortunately that cost us spots at the end. It’s always tough falling back at the end and in Cam’s case losing a win, but that’s motorsport. It’s still a great morale boost for the team to get a podium, and with three straight cars we’ll look to have another run at it tomorrow.”

DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES

The return of Dunlop Super2 Series racing didn’t quite go to plan for Zak Best (No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X), who started seventh and finished 15th in Race 7 of the 2021 Super2 Championship after a Lap 1 tangled left his car damaged for the race’s entirety. After a strong initial launch off the line, Best was alongside Car 88 which turned into the 20-year old at Turn 1, and while Best was able to carry on he suffered from damaged steering which hampered his car speed the rest of the race. Despite the disappointing result, Best narrowly holds on to second in the Super2 drivers’ championship ahead of Sunday’s action, which begins at 10:25 a.m. AEDT with Race 8 qualifying, followed by the 18-lap race at 2:00 p.m.

No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X
Zak Best
Race 7 Quali: 1m30.80s, 7th
Race 7 Finish: 15th

“A pretty frustrating day, really. I wasn’t too happy with seventh in qualifying but we felt we had a good race car so I was looking forward to the race. I got a good start but tangled with (Tim) Blanchard in Turn 1, I was alongside him but he turned in and I had nowhere to go. Obviously he spun off but the hit damaged my steering quite a lot, I had mad left-hand down the whole race after that. It made for a really tough race, but we’ll try again tomorrow. We kept with the cars around us even with the bent steering so I think we have a decent car, we’ll try and qualify up front and keep it clean in the race.”

SUPERCARS DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Shane van Gisbergen – 2828 points
2) Jamie Whincup – 2479
3) Will Davison – 2233
5) Cam Waters – 2075
13) James Courtney – 1455
16) Jack Le Brocq – 1366

SUPERCARS TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Triple Eight Race Engineering – 5307
2) Dick Johnson Racing – 4308
3) Tickford Racing – 3548

DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1) Broc Feeney – 966
2) Zak Best – 837
3) Jayden Ojeda – 831

Ends.