Andre Heimgartner's Report for the Winton 400

Andre Heimgartner's Report for the Winton 400

I met Alistair at the airport in Melbourne, he flew in from NZ and me from the Gold Coast. It was a pleasant 2.5 hour drive to Winton during which you usually encounter extreme conditions. I have seen massive floods, bush fires, brown dry grass for miles and miles and like on this occasion plenty of green grass.

3rd in practice 1, track was difficult because of track repairs they did throughout last week. Was almost like driving on a wet track due to the tar delaminating from the surface.
Practice 2, 7th but was one of the quickest of those who didn’t run new tires.

Finished 8th we were sitting in the top three for 2/3 of the session but unfortunately missed he window to put new tires on and finished the session on original set. This bad strategic call unfortunately saw us bump down the order to finish 8th. All drivers who ran a second set of green tyres all improved by at least by 3 tenths.

I got an average start due to wheel spin which saw me holding my position into turn one. Unlike last year we made it through the first turn safe with 26 laps to improve our position. After dropping a couple of spots and then regaining them I ended up finishing 9th, which would see me start on the front row on Sunday’s race.

Starting off the front row on our second set of qualifying tires we were hoping for a strong result to maintain our momentum for the weekend, after having a good start we led the opening lap unfortunately due to a small lock up on the second lap saw me run wide of the exit of turn 10-11. I tried to avoid contact on re-joining and in doing so, unfortunately, I dropped back in position down the order to 9th where I held my position for the reminder of the race. I was one place behind Steve Owen, my team mate, who likewise struck misfortune. There were very limited passing opportunities due to hot track conditions.

A tough weekend overall we showed we had good car pace at all stages of the weekend. Strategy just didn’t work in our favour to allow us to perform on the day. In saying this, the team and I learnt a lot from this round that will help us in the future. Heading back to the coast this week and will get back to training and working hard until the big Supercar weekend at Puke, next up!
Lots of work going into preparing my car. The cost to run a Supertourer continues to escalate as the series becomes more professional and competitive.