IRWIN Racing's impressive practice and qualifying performance indicators frustratingly failed to translate into a strong result at Bathurst.
The IRWIN Tools-backed Falcon was one of the stand-out cars leading into the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. It was rarely out of the top 10 and, had Alex Davison not been blocked during qualifying, would have made the Top Ten Shootout.
Starting twelfth, the entire team knew that it would be in with a shot at winning the race based on the IRWIN Ford's pace.
Davison started the 1000-kilometre race well, handing the IRWIN Ford to David Brabham in the top ten. A front-right wheel lock and subsequent contact with another car handed the team a drive-thru' penalty which dropped it to the rear of the field.
A strong race strategy and impressive driving performances by Davison and Brabham saw the team return to the top ten, but a lack of airflow to the engine caused handling problems that reduced straight-line speed.
Unable to keep other cars at bay, the IRWIN Falcon lost several places before crossing the finish line in 16th place.
“We had really good car pace early today but, in the first pit-stop we got caught out, couldn't get in and dropped from eighth right down to 19th," Brabham explained, "Then it was a case of trying to get back up. I had a big lock-up into the Chase, hit Jack Perkins up the rear, dented the front of the car and had to come in and replace the tyres.
"When we got back out there, Alex had to serve the drive-thru' and we were dead last. We managed to get back into the top ten but, with the damage to the front of the car, we weren't quick on the straight. It was really hard for Alex to keep people from behind him passing.”
Despite the disappointing result, Davison retains ninth place in the V8 Supercars
championship as the team heads to Queensland for the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 in a fortnight's time.
“We had a lot thrown at us, but it just wasn't our day," the Australian sighed, "We had a pretty good first stint, got up into the top ten and David was having a really good stint and had great pace. Unfortunately we had to double pit with the #9 car during the safety car period, which put us a long way back.
"David also had a tussle with another car which earned us a drive0-thru'. We were a long way back at one point and then got back up into the top ten. We then had a problem with the motor from the contact that David had with Perkins and we just had absolutely no power in the end. We also had a few handling issues.
"It wasn't to be today but we had a lot of promising signs. We had great pace before everything started falling to pieces. Yet again we've had an average result and consolidated our position of ninth in the championship, which is amazing. All we can do is press on to the Gold Coast 600, which we are all looking forward to.”