A sudden tyre failure was a cruel end to a highly encouraging weekend at Hidden Valley for Garry Rogers Motorsport’s James Moffat.
Following a solid ninth place finish yesterday, Moffat starred this morning, ending regular qualifying fifth before improving to third in the Shootout.
He ran in the top 10 throughout the race and was eighth when a tyre issue pitched him off the road at Turn 4 with just over 12 of the 70 laps to run.
Eighth would have been Moffat’s second highest finish of a season where the GRM Holdens have largely struggled for qualifying pace before moving forward in the races.
His qualifying effort today was a full 10 places better than his previous 2017 best, set 24 hours earlier.
The tyre issue seemed especially cruel considering it is the second generation driver’s birthday, turning 33.
“We had no warning at all, it just went going into Turn 4,” Moffat told Supercars.com.
“It fairly got my attention. It was lucky there wasn’t a fairly big accident to be honest.
“It was a surprise because we felt pretty comfortable all weekend with the tyre side of things.
“Every indication we had was that we were ok, we didn’t feel like we were pushing the limit.
“It’s obviously very disappointing, but that’s racing, there’s nothing we can do about it now.
“We’ll need to have a look at it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
GRM had been one of few teams not to have a tyre issue during a spate of failures earlier this year at Phillip Island.
Taking the chequered flag 25th, Moffat drops one place in the drivers’ standings to 12th.
With team-mate Garth Tander 15th today, GRM has lost ground to the third-placed Bottle-O/Monster Energy Prodrive squad in the teams' championship.
“There’s definitely more positives than negatives when you look at the weekend,” surmised Moffat.
“More than anything to have it happen when you’re running so well is just a big blow for our points.
“Not only the drivers’ championship, but the teams' as well, it’s a big shame to lose that when we’re in a tight battle.”