This week we look back in history to 2008 and the inaugural Hamilton 400 street race for the V8 Supercars. Here’s Ross MacKay’s report….
Roller Coaster ‘Home’ meeting for van Gisbergen (2008)
SP Tools Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen had another rollercoaster of a day on the second day of competition at his new ‘home’ event, the inaugural Hamilton 400 round the streets of downtown Hamilton.
The young Kiwi started race two from 21st on the grid and chipped away to find himself in 12th place after 21 laps. However a bent steering rod forced the SP Tools Racing Falcon into the pits for repairs on lap 24, van Gisbergen getting back on track late in the race to complete 75% race distance and finish in 26th position.
The 18-year-old put the disappointment of races one and two behind him in the final race of the day however, picking up eight positions early on and after being the last to complete his compulsory pit stop on lap 21 rejoined the race in 14th place.
The young Kiwi then used his fresh tyres to good effect in the closing laps of the race, picking up several positions and pulling off clean passes on veterans Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall to cross the line in 10th position and finish the round in 14th position.
“It was great to finally get back inside the top ten in race three today, ” van Gisbergen said as he reflected on his weekend. “We had great speed but just had some unfortunate incidents that kept dropping us to the back of the field.
“We showed our pace this afternoon; I was able to make the most of my tyres and race and pull away from (Mark) Skaife. We were able to pick off a lot of positions.
“It was a disappointing weekend in some ways but I’m happy that we could show our potential to be in the top ten or even the top five.
“The SP Tools Racing Falcon was very good, we’ve got real confidence in it and it was great to be racing at home.”
Meanwhile Stone Brothers Racing teammate, JELD-WEN Motorsport’s James Courtney claimed third for the round, giving the team its first podium finish of the 2008 V8 Supercar season.
Courtney was third in races two and three, producing two clean and consistent performances to give JELD-WEN Motorsport the solid result it needed to get underway in the Championship hunt.
Courtney started this morning’s race from fourth position and overhauled Rick Kelly in the pits, moving into third after the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon made its compulsory pit stop.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport driver remained in third throughout the remainder of the 36-lap race, following Garth Tander and Steven Richards over the line.
Courtney had Richards’ measure at the start of race three, passing the Ford Performance Racing driver into turn one on the opening lap for second position.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport driver relinquished second to Richards in the pits on lap 11, going on to take the chequered flag in third position.
Courtney’s points haul has elevated him to 12th in the V8 Supercar Championship Series standings, with van Gisbergen in 17th.
Round four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be held in Western Australia at Barbagallo Raceway on 10-12 May 2008.
“Today was a great result for JELD-WEN Motorsport,” said Courtney. “We have had good speed all year and now we have had the clean weekend we needed to get some points under our belt.
“We qualified well and that meant that we didn’t have to be so aggressive and come through the field. We could concentrate on being smooth, clean and consistent and look after the car.
“It makes for an easier weekend; the only mark on the JELD-WEN Falcon is a few stone chips and some rub marks from the tyres on the chicane.
“If there is one thing I haven’t been short of recently it is critics. It’s great to show that myself and SBR has what it takes to race at the front.
“We are definitely on the up.”
Of the two drivers’ results Team Principal Ross Stone said;
“James and the JELD-WEN boys gave us the result we wanted today.
“It was great to see everything run so smoothly.
“We also saw the potential of Shane and the SP Tools Racing Falcon.
“Today’s result is good for the team as a whole and is a reward for all the hard work that everyone has put in.”
1. Garth Tander 300 pts
2. Steven Richards 270 pts
3. James Courtney 252 pts
4. Rick Kelly 240 pts
5. Fabian Coulthard 192 pts
6. Mark Winterbottom 190 pts
7. Cameron McConville 172 pts
8. Lee Holdsworth 154 pts
9. Craig Lowndes 138 pts
10. Jason Bright 138 pts
17. Shane Van Gisbergen 98 pts
1. Rick Kelly 672 pts
2. Garth Tander 626 pts
3. Lee Holdsworth 580 pts
4. Mark Winterbottom 572 pts
5. Jamie Whincup 540 pts
6. Steven Richards 521 pts
7. Craig Lowndes 477 pts
8. Todd Kelly 440 pts
9. Will Davison 438 pts
10. Fabian Coulthard 431 pts
12. James Courtney 423 pts
17. Shane Van Gisbergen 366 pts
1. Garth Tander
2. Steven Richards
3. James Courtney
4. Rick Kelly
5. Mark Winterbottom
6. Fabian Coulthard
7. Craig Lowndes
8. Steven Johnson
9. Andrew Jones
10. Shane Van Gisbergen
1. Garth Tander
2. Steven Richards
3. James Courtney
4. Lee Holdsworth
5. Cameron McConville
6. Rick Kelly
7. Mark Winterbottom
8. Fabian Coulthard
9. Jason Richards
10. Tony D’Alberto
26. Shane van Gisbergen