Will Davison, Pepsi Max Crew FPR, ARMOR ALL Pole Position:
“It is fantastic to be on pole for the opening enduro. It was a great team effort today. We clearly had a great car today but tomorrow is pay day and we did make some changes between the two races and it looks like we made the right ones. I don’t think others were foxing and while we have a quick car, no doubt there will be other quick cars out there. I was a bit nervous as we’ve been struggling to get a good balance but it was a very good, consistent run, which is everything you need for a long-distance race. Clearly we will see tomorrow who saved tyres and who didn’t but I am very happy with the car.”
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing Australia, p2:
“I think we were p20 this time last year so I’m very happy today – I think I must be getting better with age.
“Paul (Dumbrell) did a great job in his qualifying race and the new car is working great for both of us. It’s working almost perfectly but we’ll try and tune it up to go a little quicker and from there it’s a long 500km. To be on the front row, or in the top five is where you want to be. And to have both cars there is awesome."
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing Australia, p3:
“It is a great time, racing is fierce and fast, we are all unsure what’s going to happen tomorrow, 500km is further than what we have ever raced these cars.
“It is a great time of year – the challenges are all in front of us and it all comes down to team work, strategy, making sure we stay out of trouble and as I said, you saw a lot of carnage out there over those two races.
“Hopefully we all get through the first couple of laps, cleanly smoothly and sit down and work out our strategy, obviously doing the minimum of four pit stops has definitely changed our strategy, we believe we could have gotten through on three.”
Mark Winterbottom, Pepsi Max FPR, p4:
“It was a good day in the end. I had a lot of fun watching Steve (Richards) in his race as I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the car after qualifying as it wasn’t that flash.
“Watching Richo come through made me really want to get in and give it a big go so starting seventh was a big forward move and I got a good start and had a nice battle with Chaz (Mostert).
“To get the car onto the second row for tomorrow was a good salvage job so we will tune the car for tomorrow and I feel like we are on par with the cars ahead of us.”
Chaz Mostert, Wilson Security DJR, p5:
“I was a bit sad to not hold on to the second row of the grid, but that’s racing and if anyone was going to get us I’m glad it was Frosty. He’s a good mate and he’s fighting for the Championship so I hope he can get up the front and show the Red Bull guys what he’s got.
“We made little changes to the car and were making them right up to the last five minutes of qualifying. I got a nice tow in the last five minutes and the car was really good, but I think we’ve got to tune the car up as a race car a bit and we should be good for tomorrow.”
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing, p6:
“I am happy to be starting sixth for the main race. I thought we would’ve been a bit quicker after our speed yesterday but we aren’t far off. Dean (Canto) drove cleanly and was competitive and I was in the mix in the front group so it wasn’t all bad. We will tune it overnight and hopefully make it a better race car but we will need to find a bit of extra pace to make it a car good enough to win the race.”
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team, p7:
“It was pretty crazy out there today but we managed to hold it together in pretty action packed races to qualify seventh.”
Tim Slade, Heavy Haulage Australia, p8:
“The Heavy Haulage Australia #47 was quick right throughout practice and that carried through to today. Qualifying is super-close – there’s just nothing in it.
“Andrew (Thompson) handed the car over in great condition, he did a really good job.
“Given the rain at the start of my race, I was a bit cautious. The track was quite wet from turns six to nine.
“The car really came on towards the end of the race, we pegged those in front back a little at the end of the race. Overall, it was a pretty good race car.
“Tonight, we’ll look at the data and see what we can do tomorrow. We’re very happy to be starting this enduro in the top 10.”
Scott McLaughlin, Fujitsu Racing GRM, p9:
“It was a pretty reasonable day and we ended up ninth for the start of the Sandown 500 tomorrow which is not too bad at all and is in the range.
“We qualified third initially this morning and Jack (Perkins) started third for his first race. Unfortunately he got a bit of a tardy start. He went back a few positions and ended up eighth at the end of his race.
“I started eighth but got stuffed up by Tander stalling, so I had to go around him which cost me a couple of places. I stayed in ninth pretty much the whole race. I didn’t struggle for pace but we had a few issues on the right front – a few mechanical issues.
“So I just brought her home and we had a good gap back to tenth and we just kept pushing. I think we are in good stead for tomorrow.”
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel’s Racing, p10:
"I didn't expect to be as high up as 10th. Dave (Russell) did an awesome job in his qualifying race to maintain 15th and then I was pretty lucky to be in the right place at the right time for once in my race and passed a couple of cars that were battling in front.
“From there I was just trying to maintain my own position, the car is awesome through the first sector, but it's very vulnerable up the straights. I drove that whole race watching my mirrors and the car behind had a few looks down the inside from a long way back.
"It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but the car is so good in the first sector, so as long as we have two or three car lengths onto the back straight we should be able to hang in there."
Jason Bright, Team BOC, p11:
"There's definitely something broken on the car. I reckon we damaged it this morning in practice and we've been dealing with it ever since. I've not had this many problems with handling for as long as I can remember. Even yesterday the car wasn't this bad!
"I think our pace is alright but we're used to being one of the quickest out there now. I think there's time in it and we need to find it tonight because it's not easy to pass around here. There are pit stops that will help but it's going to be hard to pass on track that's for sure."
Alex Premat, Fujitsu Racing GRM, p12:
“It’s been a good day for both cars and I think a good performance from the team. I was bit annoyed with qualifying because I qualified 14th but our car was definitely good enough to qualify in the top 10.
“I have to work on qualifying, but Ritter brought back the car and had gained one spot. So he finished 13th and gave me the car. I had a good start and I was fighting with Tander and Coulthard and I finished 12th so it was quite good. I just have to work on the set-up because after the first 10 laps we were struggling with the rear. So we need to tune the car a bit better for tomorrow.
“I’m sure tomorrow we will have a really strong performance from the team.”
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team, p13:
“We had a pretty good qualifying run this morning and clocked the fourth quickest time of the session. Nick (Percat) drove well in his race and didn’t lose a spot, which was great.
“In my qualifying race I bogged the car down at the start which was disappointing. We managed to gain a few places following that and we’ll start from 13th.
“It’s going to be a long day and we’ll see what we can do over 500km.”
Shane van Gisbergen, Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods, p14:
“We didn’t have a good qualifying car, but Jeroen (Bleekemolen) did a really good job holding position and was doing well until the tailshaft broke.
“The boys did awesomely well to get it changed in the break, and then we started 26th for the second race. I took it easy at the first corner, as there was a big crash and then we had pace, and I picked them off. Fourteenth was the best we could do, I think, which is pretty good from where we started. I just need a little tweak, and then I’ll be happy with it for tomorrow.
“I think we had most of the top-eight’s pace, but Will Davison was another step ahead of everyone. I think we’re pretty good to start with, though.”
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, p15:
"I ran wide at Dandenong Road Corner and that gave Premat the chance to come around the outside. We went side-by-side through the last two corners and into Turn One. I probably braked too deep and ran out of black stuff.
"Our cars aren't how they usually are. They lack grip, struggled for drive and don't handle the curbs well. We're trying plenty of things but they're obviously not the right ones. We need to re-evaluate and start again but it's a long race and we have to finish. Points are very valuable at this time of year. It's going to be a long day tomorrow."
Lee Holdsworth, IRWIN Racing, p19:
“It was a tough day, we finally found some speed and have been fast in every session and had our best result in qualifying all year. Unfortunately, Bairdo got taken out, which put a dampener on the day.
“It would have been nice to start up toward the front and avoid the carnage, I just wanted to come home with a clean race car, so I was pretty cautious for much of my race.
“There’s a long day ahead tomorrow with a chance of rain, so that could play into our hands. We have some work to do on the IRWIN Racing E63 as a race car, but we’re looking at it overnight and I think we can tune it up well for the 161 laps ahead tomorrow afternoon.”
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel’s Racing, p21:
"Today we've been focusing on making the car nice and comfortable and as quick as we can for the race and it's been a tough one.
"With the different surfaces all around the track, it's been hard to land on a set up that's favourable in the majority of places and at the moment that's hindering us a little bit.
"It makes it difficult in the race, because there are cars with different paces in different areas. Late in the race I was trying to drive too hard to stay in front of the cars behind and I locked a brake into one, which put us back into 21st again.
"We just have to learn a lot from the two races, we tried different set ups in the two races today, so we can probably tune it up a bit more for tomorrow."
Tim Blanchard, Wilson Security DJR, p22:
“There was nothing really on the line today and we also had quite a bit of damage from that first race, so we made sure we made it home to make sure the boys didn’t have as much to do tonight. The car wasn’t that strong early but it came on towards the end of the race. At the end of the day you need to be quick for the 161 laps tomorrow and not the 20 laps today and I think our race pace tomorrow should be good.
“It was disappointing for Ash (Walsh); he drove really well and made no mistakes. A lack of judgement from some fairly experienced co-drivers around him cost us, but it was nothing to do with Ash. Our boys are ultimate professionals and turned the car around quickly, which was excellent. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow and a lot can happen, so you never know.”
Jonathon Webb, Team TEKNO Darrell Lea, p23:
“Unfortunately qualifying was nowhere near where we needed to be. Marc (Lieb) did a fantastic job, stayed out of trouble, brought the car home a spot or two further forward. I got a poor start, and then got caught up with everyone piling into one another.”
Maro Engel, SP Tools Racing, p25:
“With the sprinkle of rain on the warmup lap, the track was pretty slippery. A car not getting away from the start in front of us forced the field to back up a little and I felt my braking points heading into turn one were good, unfortunately others weren’t so good and we spun around.
“There are plenty of positives to come from the day and I don’t think the result reflects where we should be starting tomorrow.
“We have to dial the balance in overnight to ensure that is right and hopefully Steve and I can generate a good, trouble free run throughout the race.”
Scott Pye, ekol Racing, p26:
“We had a decent start, especially with everything happening at turn one and Dean (Fiore) getting turned around.
“The race was looking promising, I had decent pace in the first laps of the race and managed to pass a few cars but unfortunately left the track at turn nine and rejoined the field in p26.”
Alex Davison, Team JELD-WEN, p27:
“That couldn’t have been much worse today to be honest. We were competitive until we put new tyres on for qualifying and the whole day was turned on its head. The car wasn’t great on green rubber, John (McIntyre) got caught up in dramas and then in my race I got a great start but then the usual suspects that usually crash into each other got together in front of me and left me nowhere to go. We damaged the front of the car and had to stop for repairs. We stuck an old set of tyres on and the car was pretty good so at least it is a long race tomorrow and we have a chance to come through and get a result.”
Dean Fiore, Dodo Insurance Racing, DNF:
“I got turned into turn one from a massive hit that I was unable to recover from and that was the show over.
“It was unfortunate because after Matt (Halliday) put us in a better position for our race, and a good start, we were in a position where we would have been able to try and make up a few spots for a better start tomorrow.”