Andre Heimgartner - Round 3 Barbagallo

Andre Heimgartner - Round 3 Barbagallo

Supercar Dunlop Series
Round 3 Barbagallo
15/17 May 2014

Flew to Perth with Morgan Haber my team mate. As usual the team was fielding 3 cars the third being for Dean Fiore.
Dad arrived from NZ on Thursday by which time we had set up at the track. Barbagello is a permanent circuit out in the sticks on the outskirts of Perth, not as dissolute as Winton, but rather uninteresting country side. Perth is very flat, no hills, with a population of 1.6 million. It looks clean across the Indian Ocean where MH71 went down. Weather was variable overcast/ sunny with occasional drops of rain.
Two races of 38 laps each this weekend with the second being a reverse top 10 from race one.

FRIDAY PRACTICE
It always amuses me that we go to a track and find a perfect set up then go to the next track to find the previous set up is useless. So many small variables and when the top 10 cars are separated by less than half a second every little tweak helps. It’s not only driver verses driver it’s also engineer verses engineer. We struggled with understeer all day, ended up with a balanced car but a skittish knife edged drive. This small window was something our engineers worked hard on all weekend, getting it absolutely perfect for race 2.

QUALIFYING
Finished 7th not getting the green tyre gains we had expected. Tyre degradation was viscous.

RACE 1
Weirdest start light procedure I had ever seen. There are 4 red lights and normally they come on one at a time until you are staged, at some point after that they go out altogether giving you the start signal. On this occasion they lit up one red only then turned it off to start the race. Caught me totally by surprise and gave me a terrible launch losing several places.
I caught Paul Morris in 9th spot who proceeded to give me a tune up. Every time I got up a long side he demonstrated how he could stop me from taking the lead. I learnt a few new tricks from my wily old mate and the race commentators found it very amusing. Eventually had to play hard ball and got past by which time we were around lap 30. My tyres were still ok and as the cars ahead were suffering tyre degradation I was making good gains each lap, my engineer calculated that I may catch 2 to 3 cars. But my party was spoilt by a safety car and the race called early. Finished in 9th which meant I would start race 2 on P2 which was a bonus.

RACE 2
Paul was P1 and me P2. We had decided that we wouldn’t fight this time. Got a great launch and immediately took the lead in my by now, really well engineered car. The car felt sooo good and I kept my head down giving it heaps.
I held the lead from start to finish by margins varying from 7 to 3 seconds. I also got bonus points for the fastest lap of the race.

CONCLUSION
One of my better days in the office. Some very valuable points giving me 3rd place for the weekend and elevating me to 3rd in the championship. My engineer Bruce Price did a wonderful job particularly with car aerodynamics which was the icing on the cake.
Dad had a 6 hour flight home and me 4 hours, we both went to bed with smiles on our faces.

Next thing up is Townsville in July, can’t wait.