Cauchi explains 'miracle' after pre-race Payne scare

18 Jun
As drivers readied to take the start on Sunday, Matt Payne’s car was stuck in pit lane
  • Matt Payne nearly missed Sunday race

  • Payne Ford picked up fuel pressure issue

  • Payne 20th after pit lane start, Ryan Wood contact

Penrite Racing Team Principal David Cauchi has detailed the “miracle” behind the team’s frantic effort to get Matt Payne on the Darwin grid.

Payne qualified 11th for Sunday’s betr Darwin Triple Crown finale, but as drivers readied to take the start, the #19 Penrite Ford was stuck in pit lane.

The Grove Mustang had picked up a fuel pressure issue, which nearly saw Payne miss the race altogether.

It would have been a second DNS in as many days for a contender, with Brodie Kostecki forced to sit out Race 11 with an engine issue.

The team changed the two main fuel pumps, with Payne eventually starting the race from pit lane.

"Matt's car wouldn't start. It would start and then it would shut off," Cauchi said in a team social media video.

"It took some diagnosis, we changed a couple of parts. The car wasn't getting any fuel pressure — we changed some parts, it wasn't fixing the problem.

"Eventually we had to change the two fuel main pumps, so the guys and girls did an amazing job.

"It was a miracle to be honest that we got the car out for the race at all, but Matt had to start from pit lane."

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Payne raced to 20th, after picking up a penalty for spinning countryman Ryan Wood at Turn 1.

Regardless, Payne managed to score 45 crucial championship points, but has now dropped from fourth to ninth in the standings in two rounds.

Richie Stanaway finished 14 and 10th and is 10th overall, with Penrite Racing fourth in the teams’ standings heading to Townsville.

"We had a Full Course Yellow which sort of brought Matt up to the back of the train," Cauchi added.

"Unfortunately he then got a 15-second penalty for some contact with Ryan Wood.

"Overall though it was positive for that car that, a) he started the race and, b) we showed some really strong car pace.”

The season will resume in Townsville on July 5-7.

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