The first race of the GC600 was completed today in very wet conditions. The rain started early in the morning and continued to drizzle all day, making the conditions tough for both Qualifying and Race 1.
Qualifying was a tough session and was interrupted by a red flag which ruined Mark Winterbottom’s fast run. They finished qualifying in P8.
All teams chose to start their co-drivers for the Race meaning Dean would start. This would also be their first hit out at the track in wet conditions as all previous practice sessions had been in the dry. With the rain continuing all afternoon, there was never any question on tyre choice with wets the only option for the entire race.
Dean had a great start but was squeezed on the outside of the track forcing him to back off and dropped several places because of it. Once everyone had settled and the tyres had some temperature in them, Dean started to move back up through the field. On Lap 35, Dean came into the pits in P7 and handed the car over to Mark to finish the race.
Dean: “The first few laps, it was almost impossible to see there was that much spray. Some of the other drivers had pace straight away. Once I found the limits we were one of the quickest cars out there. I managed to make a few spots – we were all driving fairly cautiously and giving each other racing room.”
At the end of their pit stop, Mark was given the all clear by the team to exit the pit box but as he did the car bogged down. At the same time Chaz Mostert was leaving the pit box behind and as they both joined the lane Mark made contact with him. This resulted in a drive through penalty for an “unsafe release”.
Dean: “The drive through penalty was a tough one. Both Mark & Chaz dropped at the same time. Chaz got out of the pit box no problems but Mark bogged down so Chaz managed to jump him. In that situation it’s really hard to see anyone else in the lane so they made contact. Unfortunately that means a drive through. It’s a tough penalty but it’s just the way it is.”
The car still had good pace and Mark set about making up the positions eventually bringing the car home in P8.
Dean: “It was an awesome effort by Mark to make up all those places. We had really good pace. We definitely had a podium worthy car but the cards just didn’t fall our way. Tomorrow’s a new day and hopefully we can take that same pace into a dry race.”
Qualifying, the Top 10 Shootout & Race 2 kick off tomorrow from 9:45am.