1 January 1901
Coulthard frustrated by Sandown woes.
Racing among the frontrunners, Glenfords Racing showed further performance gains in the weekend's fifth V8 Supercar Championship round at Sandown, but misfortunes denied the team the expected top ten results.
Continually making gains in the series, the bar was again raised for the team's Ford Falcon as Fabian Coulthard posted the fifth fastest qualifying lap, earning Glenfords' best-ever starting slot, and underlined his genuine outright pace in race one by continuing his strong fifth-place run until a slow pit-stop dropped him back to eighth.
Wet conditions for race two saw the #111 Falcon fitted with a set of wet weather control tyres, which then failed to perform, dropping the still battling Coulthard from his hard-earned eighth place back to 25th. Completing its compulsory pit-stop, the Glenfords team opted to change all four tyres for fresh wets in an attempt to rectify the situation, and Coulthard was immediately back up to speed, carving his way through the field to 14th before the chequered flag fell at the end of lap 39.
Despite all that had gone before, however, the weekend's third and final race delivered the team's lowest point, with an uncharacteristic engine failure putting an early end to their Queen's Birthday celebrations.
"It's a wee bit disappointing to qualify fifth and come away with 19th for the round," Coulthard admitted, "We had a slow pit-stop in the first race, which bumped us from fifth to eighth, which is where we stayed for that one, but we had a dud set of tyres for race two. They were pressured as they should be, but I couldn't get the feeling of
the car through them - it just under steered and over steered and we basically went from eighth to 25th.
"We were in a no-lose situation to try changing all four tyres instead of just the rears like usual. We put four new wets on and the car was back to normal. We got back to 14th, which shows that we had car speed but, in a situation like that, you've already lost valuable places at the start. And to DNF in the last race was obviously disappointing.
"But you can't be too disgruntled by it all - it's just part of the deal... It can't go your way every weekend and this weekend didn't go our way. We've got to regroup and get whatever we can learn from this and take it on to Darwin."
Coulthard now sits 13th in the championship as a result of his race two and three misfortunes, but is still well and truly in touch with the top ten runners. The annual trek to the 'top end' is next on the Glenfords Racing calendar, with round six of the championship taking place at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway over 4-6 July.
"The opening race was a strong run and, although we dropped a few positions in the pit-stop, we still came home well inside the top ten," team principal Paul Cruickshank noted.
"We started eighth in the second race, but the set of tyres we had on were shocking and we just went backwards until we did our pit-stop and then we went forwards again. In race three, we had an engine drama - and we never have engine dramas, so that was a bit surprising and not a great end to the weekend.
"We were on target to finish eighth or ninth in the round again, and it wasn't to be, but one good round will have us back in the top ten again. The speed is there, and the issues we had this weekend are all workable, so we've just got to get it done for the next round."
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