Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale have finished seventh and fifteenth respectively to score valuable points in the first Championship race at the Melbourne 400 today.
It was a tight fight at the front of the field as 26 cars got off the line for the first of four races.
Starting from sixth spot, Reynolds quickly came under pressure from Nick Percat. Percat, who tried his best moves to pass the Penrite Commodore, made numerous attempts but it wasn’t enough to yield a result and Reynolds was able to race on.
Behind him De Pasquale, starting from 13th, had his own battle with Mark Winterbottom; the former Champion eventually getting away before the round of compulsory pit stops.
Requiring a minimum of two tyres, both drivers took on a full set plus a splash of fuel from lap ten.
On one-lap fresher tyres, the #9 moved up behind Scott Pye who got the advantage in the pits, but with such limited passing opportunities around the Albert Park circuit, Reynolds wasn’t able to make a move by the end of lap 25.
De Pasquale’s fight was far from over though, going head-to-head with Craig Lowndes for the last five laps.
Lapping over 1-second quicker, the rookie reeled him in. Making a move stick with just two laps to go, De Pasquale finished the highest placed rookie, with the next best 32-seconds behind him.
DAVID REYNOLDS: Started 6th, Finished 7th
“Percat tried to lunge me in the last corner during the early parts of the race and we battled for a few laps, but when the car finally balanced up I was able to drive away. I then started to catch the guys in front before pitting and unfortunately I probably lost a few seconds in pit lane and got jumped by Scotty Pye. I caught up to him and thought I would be able to get him at the end of the race but I had to manage my tyres and didn’t get close enough to get it done.
“It wasn’t one of our better results but we are consistently up there now and that’s what we need to keep doing.”
ANTON DE PASQUALE: Started 13th, Finished 15th
“There was some good racing in the middle of the field, especially after the first stop with the field on different tyres but it all came together with about five laps to go. I was trying to catch a pack in front, while obviously managing pressure from behind. I was coming in on Winterbottom pretty quickly and I think if I didn’t drop the wheel on the dirt through one of the corners and we had a few more laps I would have been able to get back passed him, but it was good to be able to get a spot on Lowndes. It’s been a really good day and we are definitely moving in a forward direction.”