Engineer preview: Coates Hire Ipswich 400

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

The last event in Townsville was rookie Nick Percat's strongest showing this season, with a front row qualifying result and two top five finishes -and his race engineer Alex Somerset believes even better results are not far away.

"If we get all our ducks lined up then Nick can easily achieve a podium," Somerset said.

Newly recruited to Walkinshaw Racing this season to run the HHACommodore, Somerset is enjoying the challenge and looks forward to helping his young gun driver get further up the grid.

"I am really enjoying working at Nick and Walkinshaw Racing this year. He is easy to work with and it's as much about helping him get the most out of the car as it is engineering it."

This weekend the pair head to Queensland Raceway, a track where Percat has had previous success as the 2011 Dunlop Series round winner.

Somerset shares his thoughts ahead of the Coates Hire Ipswich 400. What are the main characteristics of the circuit?
Somerset: "Braking stability and medium/high speed balance."

How will the weekend's format affect setup and strategy?

"These weekends revolve around using the tyres as efficiently as possible.

"If you can get through qualifying using the minimum sets of tyres, it leaves you in a strong position for Sunday's race -green tyres on Sunday puts you in the Pound Seats."

What is the allocation of Dunlop tyres and what sort of degradation are you expecting? How will this impact setup and strategy, particularly in the longer Sunday race?

"Five sets of softs to use from the start of qualifying.

'There are no guru tyre strategies in events like these."

What aspects of the circuit are you expecting to suit your car and what do you have to be mindful of?

"I think the four Walkinshaw Racing cars are getting stronger everywhere, so just continue working on kerb riding, bump control etc."

What are you expecting to be the most important thing to do well this weekend?

"Tyre management, good braking performance and finally, straight line speed."

Somerset and Percat

Full name:Alex Somerset
Time with team:Six months
Time in V8 Supercars:2.5 years
Drivers engineered:2012 Rick Kelly, 2013 James Moffat
Career highlights:V8 Supercars - Qualifying 2nd at the last round, first win at Winton, qualifying 2nd at Gold Coast in 2013. Europe - 3 BTCC Championships and various single-seater titles.
Best result at QR:"Don't ask."

Tickets are still available for the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 - click here for more information.

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