Marcus Marshall has recorded his best ever V8 Supercar practice result on the opening day of the Hamilton 400 meeting in New Zealand, and could not have times his effort better after Team IntaRacing landed a new sponsor for the event.
Marshall finished the day inside the top eight after three practice sessions around the streets of Hamilton as the second round of the 2009 V8 Supercar series kicked off, and his performance capped a dramatic week for the squad that included the loss of intended title sponsor Access Cash and the acquisition of leading appliance manufacturer Fisher and Paykel as replacement for Hamilton.
"It is fantastic to welcome Fisher and Paykel on board for the weekend," Marshall said, "especially considering the company has such strong roots here in New Zealand. There has been great interest shown in Team IntaRacing since the announcement was made that our sponsor, Access Cash, would be closing and withdrawing from V8 Supercar racing."
After re-familiarising himself with the slightly altered Hamilton street circuit, Marshall recorded the seventh and eighth fastest times in today's final two practice sessions.
“It is the highest both myself and the team have ever been in practice and things are looking even better for qualifying and race one tomorrow,” he said, “The car made a lot of progress between Adelaide and the Australian Grand Prix and it is better again. We are also learning how the team works best together. This result comes at a great time as we start to look for a new major sponsor.”
Team manager Keith Evers admitted that the result was fantastic for a squad that has experienced a challenging seven days.
“After a very stressful week, it was great to see the crew pull together and produce a car which Marcus can really put his teeth into," he noted, "It is extremely rewarding on a personal level considering it is our third race meeting together.
“It is also fantastic to have Fisher and Paykel on board for the weekend and I am confident that we will continue to move forward tomorrow and hopefully make the Top Ten Shootout.”