9 February 2010
van Gisbergen tops Queensland test
Shane van Gisbergen emerged fastest of all as the Queensland-based teams tested for the first time in 2010.
Kiwi young gun Shane van Gisbergen proved age is no hurdle when setting the pace at the V8 Supercar Championship Series official pre-season test at Queensland Raceway.
The 20-year old SP Tools Racing driver, the youngest in the 2010 field, posted the quickest lap of the day during the afternoon session, with Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney making it a Ford one-two for the Queensland-based V8 Supercar teams. Russell Ingall was third fastest after unveiling the new-look Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore, while Jonathon Webb (Dick Johnson Racing) and Dean Fiore (Triple F Racing) rounded out the top five.
But while van Gisbergen was the man to beat, he acknowledged that it will mean little when he gets to the season-opener at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit on 18 February.
“This afternoon, we got the car really good on a better set of tyres,” the Kiwi said, “We were mid-pack and we put on the new set of tyres, like most other people did, and we were straight to the top. But you don't get any trophies for a test day - we're just hanging out for Abu Dhabi and getting ready for that. We're all hanging out to get over there and hopefully we're up there again.”
Courtney, meanwhile, clocked the second fastest lap of the day in 1min 10.761secs, after a new set of tyres were fitted to his FG Falcon. The 29-year old driver completed a total of 105 laps during the test, 57 in the second session.
"I've been busy with family things recently, so it was good to get back into a race car again," he admitted, "Everything felt fast at first, which is normal coming off a two-month break. I did a couple of long stints to start with, just to familiarise myself, and it didn't take long to get comfortable.
"We have a good base set-up with this car from last year, so we tried some different things outside our normal window to see how the car responded. We didn't have a lot of good tyres to use so, in the second session, we waited for the weather to clear before the new rubber went on the car. I did five or six short stints, and I was able to keep doing good lap times as the types got older.
"The track grip wasn't that good today, especially at the start, but it got better. I did more than 100 laps and my fitness seems good. This is my second season with Jim Beam Racing - we have got good continuity our whole package and I can't wait for the racing to start."
Meanwhile, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup debuted TeamVodafone's two new Holden Commodore VEs, finishing the test tenth and eleventh fastest respectively. Despite not setting the pace, however, Whincup believes the change to Holden from Ford is a great motivation for his title defence.
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