After qualifying 18th, the IRWIN Racing team fought hard to little avail as it progressed to 13th at the end of 161 laps of the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000.

Alex Davison started the race and made up four spots on the first lap before steadily setting about making up more places before handing over the Ford Falcon to team-mate David Brabham.

The team maintained its position inside the top ten for the first half of the race, but lost several places when Brabham had to pit to replace his front left tyre which had flat-spotted and delaminated, causing massive vibration and lack of handling.

The stop changed IRWIN's pit-stop strategy from five stops to six stops, effectively preventing it from finishing in the top ten.

"The flat spotted tyre certainly didn't help IRWIN Racing today," engineer David Stuart admitted, "Our strength of the day was that we could have five-stopped and that would have put us, even with safety cars, up in the five to ten bracket.

"Instead, we went down a lap, we had to work hard, we got the lap back and then the last safety car at the end of the race put everyone back on a level playing field. However, we would have been further up the road had that not have happened. It certainly didn't help us.

"It's just one of those things. IRWIN Racing fought all day and David and Alex did a fantastic job behind the wheel. It's a bit frustrating, as our performance over the weekend hasn't been strong. The team has always been strong at Bathurst so it's been a hard weekend. Engineering-wise, we've been working on the car every session and we've never been really happy with the car.

"I think Alex said over the radio, in his last stint, that it was the best the car felt, chassis-wise, all weekend, but we need to think about what we're doing and how we're doing it so that we can move forward. If [SBR team-mate] Shane [van Gisbergen] hadn't had his issue, and we'd avoided the tyre problem, we had the opportunity to have two cars in the top ten. There's only one other team that's done that this weekend unfortunately, and they finished first and second."

After struggling to match expectation in qualifying, the team had been hoping for better in the race, but it wasn't to be.

"It's always great to come back to the Mountain for sure, but every time you come down here you want to do well," Brabham sighed, "I think we had a bit of a tough day in the office with all the SBR cars - we certainly had a few problems.

"We improved the IRWIN Ford in some areas, but we had a few little issues that were holding us back, and you can't have that here. You have to be on song the whole time.

"We were lacking a bit of pace the whole week, so to finish 13th was probably as good as we were going to get. It's where we should have been really. Having said that, we would have finished higher than 13th if we didn't have the tyre problem.

"I was going down Conrod and, all of a sudden, it felt like the tyre was going to fall apart, so I backed off and came into the pits."

Despite the disappointment, Brabham admitted that he had loved being back on home soil and racing in the 'national' motorsport series after a break of several years.

"I've enjoyed my time with IRWIN Racing," he enthused, "Sure, a V8 Supercar is difficult to set up, particularly if you don't drive them often, so it's always a great challenge.

"My job is to help Alex and I feel I've done that over the last two races. We'll collect all of our knowledge and go to the Gold Coast to get a good result.

"When you don't win, and you come away from a weekend like this, you can leave feeling depressed or be even more determined. I have to say that I'm even more determined to do well next race at the Gold Coast."


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