MEGA Fuels racer Garry Jacobson proved lightning quick on Saturday at the RABBLE.Club Sandown 500 but with a tricky end to proceedings, he says his eyes are forward to an important Sunday at the race track.
Teams woke up this morning to a wet Sandown Raceway, with the treacherous conditions changing throughout the day.
Dunlop Super2 Series Qualifying was first up for Jacobson, who ended up a mere 0.03s off pole aboard his Matt White Motorsport prepared Nissan Altima following an impressive late flyer.
It’s been a challenging day – but Garry Jacobson is upbeat ahead of the RABBLE.club Sandown 500 and continuation of the Dunlop Super2 Series -click links to download hi-res [https://flic.kr/p/29GSL8X]
It would see him start from the front row of the grid for the opening Super2 race of the weekend, clearing off early at the start on a slippery track.
An incident at Turn 12, however, with another competitor who was attempting a pass for the lead saw contact and Jacobson was ultimately handed a 15 second penalty.
He went on to cross the line first, but with the penalty applied, he dropped down to 18th in the classification following a late safety car which closed up the field. Stewards are looking into the infringement, though, after a request from MWM.
Slightly earlier in the day, Jacobson was back aboard the Castrol Racing Nissan that he shares with Rick Kelly in this year’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship PIRTEK Enduro Cup. The Shepparton driver only just made it out to the pre-grid in time after the team opted to change the engine on the #15 for precautionary reasons.
Jacobson made a strong start and made up a handful of positions, but was caught in an early Turn 4 melee which damaged the bonnet on the Castrol Nissan. It meant he had to drive the remainder of the 20-lap encounter with reduced vision as the bonnet raised up and blocked part of the windscreen.
If things weren’t tricky enough, wild conditions made things difficult when the rain caused chaos with the entire field out on slicks. At one stage, it even began to hail in some parts of the circuit.
The team made the gamble to pit for wet tyres, while others stayed out on slicks, with Jacobson ending up 20th at the flag in a trying situation.
Jacobson and Kelly will start Sunday’s 500km enduro from 16th after the latter finished the final Race for the Grid in that position.
Tomorrow’s action kicks off with Dunlop Series qualifying at 09:15 AEST ahead of Race 2 at 12:05 AEST.
Supercars will hit the track for a 20-minute warm up session at 10:15 AEST where the focus will be on driver change and pit stop practice in preparation for the big 161 lap RABBLE.club Sandown 500 at 13:20 AEST.
Coverage of all the action will be on Fox Sports Channel 506 and Network TEN nationally.
Garry Jacobson is supported by MEGA Diesel Supply, RABBLE.club – along with Challenger Valves and Actuators, Exedy, McQuinn Electrical and MGA Insurance Brokers.
QUOTEBOARD – GARRY JACOBSON:
“Overall I felt like I was driving pretty good. It’s just that there were a couple of racing incidents and external factors which hampered our progress. I think I just need to focus on tomorrow and focus on the fact it’s a long day and long race for that matter.
“My car speed was really good today in Super2, started off the front row, only a few tenths in it to decide pole so were just as good as the fastest car on the track. Then in the race, I felt like was again the fastest car and broke the lap record, so I was really happy with that. We crossed the line first, but unfortunately copped that 15 second penalty for that early race incident with Kostecki, which I felt was harsh. So, we’ve chatted to the Stewards and they’re looking into it tonight; I don’t feel the incident was as malicious as what they thought it was, there’s two sides to the story. I went into the corner and was getting squeezed, I had the right to be on the inside there as Kostecki attempted the pass, but there was some overlap there and he did get the pass complete and we made contact. We fought back after that and made two consecutive passes, got into the lead and opened up our lead up to about three seconds before the flag, but the penalty dropped us back to 18th. There’s a lot of positives to draw out of that race though.
“In main game, it’s been a bit of a struggle so far. We had to do an engine change late after qualifying, Rick said they just can’t quite get the engine to perform the way they want, so they decided to change the engine. We just got out in time for the co-driver race, so it was touch and go and a bit of a tense time for the team. Started from 16th, made up some ground at the start and then as it began to rain we decided to pit for wets, but I think the right decision was to stay on the slicks in the end. I came out 18th and sort of finished 20th, it wasn’t a great race. Rick then brought the car back from there to 16th in his race which is about where we are, mid-pack at the moment. But with some changes it should be better for tomorrow.
“Heading into tomorrow, my Super2 team have done a great job with my MEGA Fuels race car so my goal is really for a front row start, or pole and to win the race – that’s pretty much the expectation.
“In terms of the RABBLE.club Sandown 500 with the Castrol car, it’s about getting through to the end, being consistent in my stint at the start, get into a rhythm, keeping the car straight for Rick to jump in and hopefully we can get a top ten or top five result which would be awesome.”
Sunday, September 16
09:15am-09:30am – Dunlop Super2 Qualifying for Race 2
10:15am-10:35am – Virgin Australia Supercars Warmup
12:05pm-12:35pm – Dunlop Super2 Race 2 – 22 Laps
1:20pm-4:50pm – RABBLE.club Virgin Australia Supercars Sandown 500
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES CALENDAR:
Adelaide 500 – March 1-4
Tasmanian Super Sprint – April 6-8
Perth Super Sprint – May 4-6
Townsville 400 – July 6-8
Sandown 500 – September 14-16
Bathurst 1000 – October 4-7
Newcastle 500 – November 23-25