July 12, 2015 – Finance Ezi Racing’s David Russell has scored pole position and two podiums over the course of three Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship races at the Reid Park Street Circuit in Townsville over the weekend.
However, a controversial penalty handed out in the final race dropped Russell down to the rear of the field and into fifth overall for the round.
The weekend started with Russell claiming a pole position with a lap time of 1:14.2666, two-tenths faster than his nearest competitor, though celebrations were muted following a heavy accident for regular team mate Roger Lago, who is now recovering from a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured left tibia.
“It was great to get pole position as it’s hard to get all the sectors right in Townsville, but the bittersweet part was coming around under yellow flags and seeing the debris and the medical cars in attendance for Roger,” said Russell.
In Race 1, Russell led the field away from pole position though he lost the lead to eventual winner Nick Foster on lap 13 following a thrilling head-to-head battle. Contact from the tussle dropped Russell to third behind Richard Muscat.
“It was good to lead and get a gap, though I struggled with understeer and Foster could reel me in lap-by-lap until we battled for the place,” said Russell.
“But I was bit disappointed when I was hit in the rear and pushed wide. Though he didn’t get through on me in that corner, it pushed me hard onto the marbles and I lost two positions from that move. It’s a racing incident but I’ll store it in the memory bank, though third was still a good result.”
Into Race 2, Russell gained a place back and recovered to second place, jumping Richard Muscat early in the race and holding position for a second consecutive top-three finish.
“The car was good early and I made a good move on Muscat for second,” said Russell.
“I had pace and was able to keep in touch with Foster while holding off Steven Richards, then shaking him off to hold onto second.”
But in Race 3, following a lively start where Russell was again battling for the lead with Foster and Richards, a safety-car intervention led to a controversial restart.
Foster slowed in the final turn and backed up the pack, with Russell making slight contact with his rear and forced to pull up alongside his rival before the restart, leading him receiving a drive-through penalty.
“He took off and then either lost grip or something, so I made contact with him and ended up alongside him on the restart, which I know you can’t do,” described Russell.
“The trouble was the group closed in and I couldn’t get back to prove that I hadn’t gained an advantage, but the stewards didn’t investigate it post-race and just handed the penalty. I feel like I’ve been the one who copped the brunt of the leader’s mistake.”
Russell currently sits in sixth place in the championship standings on 364 points, encouraged by the pace from Townsville.
“We’ve made some really great gains to grab a pole position and two top-three finishes, though it would have been nice to finish the round on the podium given the events of the weekend for the team,” said Russell.
“We had the pace to finish quite comfortably on the podium for the round and we will fight back in the coming rounds.”
The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship continues at Sydney Motorsport Park in New South Wales on August 21 to 23.