The Team were pleased with the results from the practice session this morning with all four drivers spending the majority of the 30 minute session inside the Top 15.
When Qualifying began just after lunch, the 3.93km track had warmed slightly from practice and the Team were again quick in the first part of the session. However, DJR could not hang onto these positions. James Moffat was the highest placed in 16th, closely followed by Steve Johnson in 17th. Dean Fiore was 21st and Steve Owen was 26th.
Race 19 of the International V8 Supercar Series did not yield the results Dick Johnson Racing were chasing.
Both the Jim Beam cars of Johnson and Fiore started the 56 laps on soft tyres, with Moffat and Owen on the harder compound. All four drivers made up places during the clean start, but they were not able to hang onto their track positions after the first stop.
For the second time this weekend, the Team Norton DJR Falcon of James Moffat was the highest placed DJR driver, finishing the race in the same position he qualified (16th).
Ian Walburn, James’ Race Engineer, “The first set of hard tyres we had on James’ car weren’t very good and we lost valuable track position during the first 20 laps. But once we swapped to the second set of hards and the new softs, the car was a lot different and we gained a great deal of speed.”
Despite a great start by Steve Johnson, the Jim Beam car #17 driver was not able to finish further up the grid. Race Engineer, Mark Fenning, “We didn’t have the pace we thought we’d have from the first set of softs and this put us back for the whole race, and we finished up in 19th position.”
It was a tough day for Owen in the V.I.P. Petfoods Falcon, who was only able to make up 4 places from his grid position. Blake Smith, Steve’s Race Engineer, explained, “We got turned around on Lap 30 at Turn 6, costing us over 30 seconds. We were looking at a good top 15 finish before that but know we still have work to do before we hit the endurance races.”
Fiore also made up places during the race, moving up 3 spots to 18, but according to his Race Engineer, Nathan McColl, the gamble they put on the softs at the start of the race did not pay off. “We found out during the first stint that the soft tyres we put on car #12 weren’t as good quality as we thought and we didn’t get the gain we we wanted. Dean drove well and did his best to salvage some points. Our hard tyre pace is really good and given the next two races are hard tyre only, we are hoping for better results.”
The Team will head to Sandown in two and a half weeks for the first Endurance race of the 2012 Season. Steve Johnson will partner with Allan Simonsen, Dean Fiore with New Zealander Matt Halliday, James Moffat will partner with Alex Davison and Steve Owen will have DJR Team Strategist, Paul Morris.