While the weekend saw good hard racing in Townsville, there were also a number of mechanical issues for some of the top runners at the latest round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
While mechanical issues do happen, they have become less frequent in recent years.
Generally, most of the mechanical issues we now see are a result of damage, a crash or running over curbs.
Anton de Pasquale had a suspension failure while driving over a curb late in the final race that sent him into the outside tire barrier bringing out the only safety car of the weekend.
Though De Pasquale’s failure had a seemingly obvious cause the same couldn’t be said for many of the other issues over the weekend.
David Reynolds and Shane Van Gisbergen both experienced similar power steering issues in the Saturday race.
Both cars had steering rack seal failures, though they did so in different ways.
Reynolds car showed no outward signs of a failure other than losing some pace and not looking as nice to drive.
It was much clearer Van Gisbergen’s car had an issue, it began pouring smoke and oil out the back of the car, earning him an immediate black flag after the team sent the car back on track.
While Hazelwood, starting from 6th in the first race of the weekend, suffered a clutch failure at the start of the race, leaving him to fall to last before the first turn.
Despite the failure, he showed good speed climbing back to a 12th place finish despite also struggling to get leave the pit lane after his stop due to the clutch issues.
Andre Heimgartner also faced engine issues on Saturday, with an intermittent engine misfire.
First noticing the issue on the warmup lap he managed to clear the issue before the race start but found it returned intermittently through the race.
Lee Holdsworth also had an unusual issue with the oil tank/system forcing the team to remove the engine between qualifying and the race to assess and fix the problem.
Could the Covid restrictions keeping the teams on the road be part of the problem?
Many of the teams have been on the road for months unable to return to their workshops.
They have been forced to work out of the garages at the track with the parts they have in their trucks, and what they have freighted to the track.
This means they have adapt to the new environment and the lack of equipment they would usually have in the workshop.
While all teams are making the most out of the situation, they aren’t able to maintain the cars the same way they usually would, stripping the cars back and checking everything between rounds.
Some have questioned if this could be contributing to the mechanical issues, something teams are suggesting is untrue, assuring fans they are checking cars to the same standard they always do.
All teams will want to ensure they are on top of any mechanical gremlins before they hit the mountain next month.