Here’s what some of the drivers had to say after today’stwo Qualifying sessions for Races 13 and 14 at the Austin 400, to be run thisafternoon (local US time).
Jamie Whincup, qualified positions 2 and 1:
“The car is good, that eight tenths gain in the secondqualifying session – it is all in the driver, because on a new circuit on newrubber you just don’t maximise. It just shows how intense it is out there, youhave to absolutely milk every corner to get a pole. So very, very happy. Thatwas one of my better laps on a track I am unfamiliar with. That makes it moredifficult so I am quite happy with that. The crew has done a phenomenal job toget both cars quick on a new circuit.
“We didn’t change the car at allbetween qualifying sessions, I just told Dutto (engineer Mark Dutton) to leavethe car. It was a bit of Days of Thunder stuff, the car’s perfect just let medo a lap and milk a bit more out of it in the second run.
“The race is a different story. Wewill all convert the cars into race cars from qualifying cars now. Tyredegradation is very low here but it’s still an educated guess about how to gofast here over 27 laps.”
Fabian Coulthard, 1 and 3:
“To start the first racehere at the Austin 400 on pole is a pretty awesome feeling.
“There’s not muchpace left to find. It’s all about how many sets of tyres you use to set yourtime. We went out on old tyres for the start of the second session, just didn’teven worry about it and used one set of tyres. So we have a pretty good tyreallocation left so a bit of strategy there as well.
“It is obviouslygoing to be about a race of whose tyres last the longest and you are going tohave to have a good pit stop too. So it’s anybody’s race.”
David Wall, 4 and11:
“The car balancehas been pretty good and by the end of yesterday we bolted on a set of tyresand did a good lap. So we thought we had a good race car, but we didn’t knowhow it would go in Qualifying.
“But we werepleasantly surprised. I made a couple of little mistakes on my lap in the firstsession and a couple more in the second session and wasn’t quite as neatthrough the esses three, four, five, six complex.
“We are secondyear in the series so we are aiming for top 10s. We are very, very happy;enjoying being in Texas and hopefully we can have some good results and finishour weekend off. We haven’t quite been consistent enough this year so far.”
Mark Winterbottom, 7 and 12:
"Wetuned the car and didn’t tune it right and lost a fair bit of speed. Thesessions are back-to-back so you can’t retune it and we went the wrong way sowe were stuck with what we had. On these big circuits when you lose your flowyou are just holding on.
“Thecar is quick in a race trim, just we know what we did wrong then… We should beokay, it’s plenty wide enough to pass on, but it is easier to win off pole thanseven or 12.”
Jonathon Webb, 6 and 5:
“We were notjumping too far ahead of ourselves after yesterday but it was nice start and tohave continued that in Qualifying is good, especially because we don’t knowwhat is going to go on in turn one. Nomatter what happens it will be nice to be toward the pointy end to stay awayfrom the trouble.
“We did a long run yesterday andthe car was a lot better than I expected it to be. We will go back to thosesettings for race one and fingers crossed that’s enough.”
Rick Kelly, 10 and 6:
“The thing that was scaring us wasthe straight, a big headwind and a slow corner leading on to it. We are stilllosing a lot of time there, but because the circuit is so dense with corners itworks really well for us. The car is really hooked up, it feels great but it isstill misbehaving in a couple of spots. So if we can tune it up a little bit wecan stay around there.
“But there is a big gap to the guysin front, like 0.9 secs still, and if I lose 0.2 secs I drop from sixth to 12th.So we have to put our heads down and backside up and tune the car a bit moreand get a little more out of myself. And we can do that. We made improvementsall day yesterday and today.
“For EP (engineer Erik Pender, whoworked with Rick in his Championship winning year in 2006 and reunites for 2013)and I this has been our best weekend working together and finding our straps.It’s been good because we have started at the track with a clean sheet ofpaper. We are driving and giving feedback without any preconceived ideas onwhat the car is doing. We are working together real well.”
David Reynolds, 19 and 15:
“It’s just a hard track to get altogether. Whincup justdid a 32.0, which is very quick. And if I put all my best sectors together, I’dstill be nine tenths off – so I don’t know how he could pull that time, it’sblindingly quick.
"It’s just the whole layout I suppose (that is challenging).I don’t think our cars are that suited to it. It’s a challenge – it’s verychallenging – and the track changes a lot during the day with thetemperatures and the surface. So you’ve got to adjust the car to that.
“Oh yeah, definitely (there’s room for improvement). There’sgot to be.”
On an incident under investigation with James Courtney:
“I think he was on a Qualifying lap and I might’ve got inhis way a bit – that’s about it.”
Jason Bright, 21 and 18:
“Still just struggling with pace.The other cars aren’t – so we’re trying to go through the little differencesthere might be and try to pinpoint why it’s so different.
“It’s still the same amount off (asyesterday), so if we can get it right I’m sure we can work our way forward– the other cars look like they have great pace, so we’ve just got to makeit all the same as theirs and hopefully it is just a setup thing rather than aproblem with the car and we’ll work our way up. There’s still plenty of time inthe races to work our way up.”
Dean Fiore, 23 and 27:
"We thought we had a pretty good car yesterday and we went out and it wasn't quite where we needed it to be, it just generated no grip. The actual balance was quite good, but just generated no grip, so what we did for the second one was realised it was going to do that again and saved the tyres. We just pitted and saved another set.
"It's going to be interesting (passing from so far down in the field). We just have to keep it clean the first lap and hopefully try and get a few and do an alternative strategy."