David Brabham and V8 Supercar regular Alex Davison combined to secure IRWIN Racing a spot on row ten for the L&H 500 at Phillip Island on Sunday after solid performances in their respective qualifying races.
The distinctive blue-and-yellow Ford Falcon will start the first endurance race of the 2010 V8 season from 19th after Davison finished tenth in his race and Brabham 25th. The ALMS regular ran as high as twelfth in his event, but was required to make a compulsory pit-stop, which dropped him back down the order.
“Early this morning, we were making good progress, step by step, which is what I wanted to achieve," Brabham reported, "Qualifying was disappointing because I didn't quite get a lap together - I made a mistake out of the second last corner and had to back off because I was on the grass on the exit. I lost two or three tenths and, of course, two or three tenths can mean quite a lot in terms of grid position.
"I was relatively happy with the start of my race and my first stint. I'm not happy with my start though - it was dismal; too much wheelspin, but I haven't had much practice in this area. The car was hooked up and I managed to get past a few people on the first lap, then got past a few more. The pace seemed to be okay, but I was just stuck behind a couple of cars ahead of me prior to the pit-stop. It was a good experience and good for tomorrow.
"However, Alex did a great job in that last race, managing to move up, which put us in the top 20.”
With the single team pit-stop completed in Brabham's race, Davison was able to run almost unhindered from start to finish and rewarded the IRWIN team with a top ten result.
“I got a very good start, but it seemed like so many guys stalled, so the track was blocked and I didn't end up making up any ground on the first lap, which we should have," he sighed, "I passed [Greg] Ritter and he drove me off the road so, overall, the first lap wasn't good.
"We were able to hold on to the pack, but the balance wasn't perfect and we weren't able to push until the restart, when we were all bunched up. The cars in front of me started racing pretty hard, so I took advantage of that, as I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to make up a few spots. I pushed hard and managed to get through four guys on the last lap. It wasn't comfortable, as we were three-wide through some pretty fast corners, but it was good fun. We all came out of it without any damage and on the track, which was good."
Davison was also positive about Brabham's improvement as the sportscar ace continues to adapt from his ALMS prototype.
"David is doing really well, he's up to speed in difficult circumstances and conditions," the series regular noted, "We'll work hard and try to have a good race car for tomorrow. We've turned the IRWIN Ford around overnight before, so we'll keep pushing ahead. It's a long race and, if we have a good car, we won't have any problems carving through the pack.”