Tekno Autosports’ Jonathon Webb and Shane VanGisbergen say a podium finish in today’s two races at the Austin 400 isdefinitely on the cards after a combination of a radio malfunction and a poorstart cost them a champagne finish in Saturday’s second race.
Both drivers and Fabian Coulthard put on a showlate in Race 14 as all three battled for third place in the closing stages,with Australian and American fans alike on the edge of their seats.
In the end Webb decided discretion was the betterpart of valour to allow van Gisbergen to finish a whisker in front in fourthjust behind Coulthard, with all three ending the race in the same positionsthey had started.
“I decided to hold back because I could see thatShane was ready to pounce on Fabian – but if he hadn’t have been my teammate Iwould have definitely gone for it,” Webb said.
“But it’s definitely great to be up at the pointyend again.”
According to team manager Bruce Jenkins the teamwas hit with a clash of radio frequencies, which prevented them fromcommunicating properly with the drivers in the first race.
In the second, van Gisbergen’s radio failedcompletely with Jenkins himself having to communicate directly with the Kiwiyoung gun via the pit board, while leaving the decision to pit up to his driverand running the risk of him coming in at the same time as teammate Webb.
“The radio problem definitely cost one of ourdrivers the chance of a podium today and we still don’t know what the problemsis,” Jenkins said.
“We had to switch to a local frequency here andthat clashed with each of our drivers, so we had to wait until we stoppedtalking to one before speaking to the other in the first race.
“In the second Shane had no radio at all so wehad to leave it up to him to make the call to pit.”
Van Gisbergen however said a poor start on hisbehalf and not the radio was behind his fourth place finish, and that he hadhigh hopes for a strong result in tomorrow’s two races.
“I mucked up the start which was a shame becausethe car definitely had the speed and I could have had a good shot at (second-placedCraig) Lowndes if I’d gotten away better,” said Van Gisbergen.
“But we had a great second race and it turnedinto a mad fight between the three of us in the end.
“As far as the pit stop, Jonathon was in front ofme earlier in the race so I saw that he didn’t come in so I pitted.
“But I turned up and there was no one there inthe pit lane at first as I was coming in.”
Van Gisbergen said the pit board communicationwith Jenkins was “a bit like going back to my junior single seater days”.
Both drivers said the key to a podium finish today would be scoringhigh-up starting positions in the two morning qualifying sessions before thefinal two races of the inaugural Austin 400.