Race 11 of the Supercars Championship proved to be one to forget for Erebus Motorsport, with a pit stop drama for David Reynolds and time penalty for Anton De Pasquale ending the team’s hopes of another top finish.
The race started positively for Reynolds and De Pasquale, both qualifying inside the top in seventh and ninth respectively. Reynolds held his advantage ahead of Craig Lowndes when the lights went out while De Pasquale tucked in behind Will Davison for the opening minutes. However, he moved back up the order only laps later, forcing Davison wide with a strong racing line.
The duo wasted no time in attacking the front-runners, but it was a ten second time penalty for De Pasquale that would wreck his run – forced by a false start at the beginning of the race.
There was more pain to come for the team, as Reynolds entered pit lane for his only stop. A problem with the rear wheel left the Penrite Holden stranded and cruelled Reynolds’ chances of pushing to the front, losing 15-seconds on the road and ultimately re-joining the pack 24th. De Pasquale stayed out behind podium-finisher Mark Winterbottom until lap 25, before stopping for tyres and his ten second time penalty.
Reynolds and his teammate were back to 11th and 16th respectively and they began to carve their way through the pack but with some teams opting to pit a second time for green tyres, the Erebus drivers found themselves struggling for grip around the abrasive circuit.
The race settled, but with two laps to go De Pasquale closed in on Garth Tander and although feeling the pressure on ageing tyres, he drove by to gain 18th before the checkered flag, right behind his teammate Reynolds.
A final practice will kick off tomorrow’s proceedings, before another three-tier qualifying session and final 200-kilometre race.
DAVID REYNOLDS: Started 7th, Finished 17th
“There are a lot of positives to take from today, and some negatives obviously with our drama in pit stop. Our speed was good in qualifying but we are just missing that last tenth to be right up the front, but I think we can find that tomorrow, we’re not far away.
“Our overall pace was good and we tried to undercut people but lost 15-seconds in the pit stop. If we take 15-seconds off my race time, I’d probably finish where I started. Overall our degradation wasn’t bad compared to the guys I was racing before the stop, so I think we would have been able to challenge, it was just unfortunate the way it turned out.”
ANTON DE PASQUALE: Started 9th, Finished 18th
“Qualifying was good, with our third top-ten start in a row. That gives us confidence that we’re in the right direction and giving us the best chance for the race.
I got a decent start and was maintaining my position but the penalty ultimately ended our race. Without the penalty I think we should have been in a similar spot to where we started, it’s hard to say but with everything that happened, I think we could have held our top ten. Our pace was there, we just go