Erebus Motorsport is encouraged by the first day of racing at the Sydney SuperSprint today, although their race results didn’t relate.
Reynolds started the day’s 120-kilometre race from 15th position; the #9 driver struggling to string together the perfect lap during qualifying. Newcomer Shae Davies continued to settle in his new #4, qualifying for his first ever Supercars race 26th.
Degradation was the word of the day, and it would be the strategy that would see the smartest team come out on top.
Making positions off the start, Reynolds took an excursion through the grass on the opening lap as he battled Fabian Coulthard. He quickly re-joined the track before setting one of the fastest laps of the race, a 1:32.2595.
Davies was also off to a good start, jostling with Andre Heimgartner and Karl Reindler for position. The debutant settled into a rhythm, although inevitably too late as his tyres wore quickly. He pitted for his compulsory stop on lap 15 for a fresh set and fuel.
Reynolds and his engineer rolled the dice with strategy, opting to pit late in the hope of a Safety Car, which never eventuated. The #9 Commodore pitted late on lap 18 before re-joining 24th, just ahead of his teammate.
Reynolds showed speed on his new tyres, managing degradation and dancing through the field to 17th before the chequered flag. Davies had a fair run at Todd Kelly in the closing stages but was unable to jump him, finishing 25th.
The team are back on track at 11:40am tomorrow for qualifying ahead of Race 19.
Shae Davies, #4 Erebus Motorsport
“I was really excited heading into today and thankfully didn’t have the nerves I expected; I just went out there to enjoy it.
“I think my race pace was good, I race with some cars early on and through the end of the first stint it was a bit of a struggle; I took too much out of the tyres early with lack of experience but in the second stint we started to catch some cars and it was a good race toward the end.
“The biggest learning curve today was looking after the tyre, in practice we were doing short runs and you never really get a chance to get a longer run on the tyre so taking care of the tyre has been the biggest thing and thankfully in the second stint today I did a better job and hopefully tomorrow I’ll do even better.
“We’re going to work hard overnight and try getting some more driveability in the rear end, I think we are all complaining about tyre degradation so it’s just the best of the worst situation across all cars. If we can do that and if I shift my driving technique perhaps, we will look after the tyre longer.
“I’m feeling really good heading into tomorrow, we will tune the car up overnight and I’ll have a fresh face and be that little bit more experienced so hopefully get a few more spots up the grid.”
David Reynolds, #9 Erebus Motorsport Penrite Oil Racing
“We qualified 15th which wasn’t bad but it’s not great, so I had to make up positions at the start. I got a good start and had a few good battles with good cars.
“Our strategy was to stay out and try coming home strong, if there was a safety car we were going to capitalise on that. We probably stayed out too long and lost a lot of time by staying out and the safety car never came. We rolled the dice in the wrong direction and it didn’t pay off.
“We probably lost a few seconds in the pit stop and finished 17th but we should have finished about 12th or 13th.
“I think our race pace is good, our tyre degradation is on par with everyone else but our overall speed is a little down.
“I knew it was going to be a tough track for us because it’s really dependent on car balance and if your balance is not good you’re going to drop off the pace quickly. There is a big disparity between the first and the last car here, the whole field is covered by a larger gap as the tracks characteristics make it really hard to get right set up.”