There was no warming up for the Australian GT cars at the Australian Grand Prix this year. They were first on the track at 11:50am and it was straight into their first Qualifying sessions – no warm ups or practice.
The format for the Grand Prix is very different than the other race events in the season with each qualifying & race predetermined as to who would participate. The top ranked drivers of each car have to complete Qualifying 1, Race 1 & Race 3 with the lower ranked driver completing Qualifying 2, Race 2 & Race 4.
This meant Dean was up first thing in the #14 Brunetti Lamborghini Gallardo. His lap time of 1:56.075 put him in 4th place.
Dean: “I didn’t have the pace in Qualifying 1. Being first out for the weekend meant the track was pretty low on grip & the Lambo doesn’t have the same downforce as the Audi & Ferrari so I couldn’t push as hard as some of the faster cars”
Andrew Taplin went out for the Qualifying 2 session in the middle of the day & his time of 2:00.6211 put him in 17th position in his group. After combining the two qualifying session times, Dean & Andrew finished P4 for the first race.
Dean jumped into the car for Race 1. He drove a clean race & finished on track in P5 but once his compulsory pit stop time had been added on, he finished the race 9th.
Dean: “I’m in a pretty difficult position here. I just don’t have the same amount of aero downforce of the newer cars ahead of me. I’ve also got a bigger penalty than some of the guys around me as well. The last Championship I won was back in 2005 & this is the first time I’ve raced full time in a series since 2008 but my time penalty is 8 seconds longer than guys who’ve been racing full time – and winning – in championships for the past 6 years. I’m not quite sure how that works! I don’t question that I should be a ranked as a PRO 1 but there are a number of guys currently ranked PRO 2 who should be ranked PRO 1.
It’ll be a tough weekend. Tappo & I will keep plugging away at it & we’ll still race to win but it’s going to be a tough one”
Race 2 of the Australian GT series is on Friday at 11:25am.