Pye explains lengthy pitlane delay

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/04/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

A clutch problem was behind the lengthy pitlane delay that cost Scott Pye a shot at a podium finish in the opening race at Symmons Plains.

Starting seventh, the Albert Park race winner followed Walkinshaw Andretti United team-mate James Courtney throughout the first stint.

Courtney pitted on lap 17 and made a series of strong passes to eventually finish third behind Triple Eight pair Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

Pye stopped five laps later and, while the wheel-change went smoothly, the car stalled when it hit the ground.

After a delay of roughly 12 seconds, Pye eventually bunny-hopped his way back into the fray.

2018 Supercars Championship Round 3. Tasmania SuperSprint, Symmons Plains Raceway, Tasmania, Australia. Friday 6th April to Sunday 8th April 2018. World Copyright: Daniel Kalisz Photographer Ref: Digital Image DSC_7035.NEF

Pye was 14th of those to have stopped when he rejoined before cutting his way through to an eventual eighth-place finish.

“We just lost the clutch in the first stint [and] the anti-stall kicked in,” Pye explained.

“I couldn’t get the anti-stall off because I couldn’t get the clutch out. It was all happening.

“The clutch kind of came back towards the end, I didn’t use it, but to come through that is really bittersweet.

“We’ve still got tomorrow, but today we should’ve been up there fighting for a podium.”

Practice 3 key to long-run call

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While Red Bull HRT, which pitted Shane van Gisbergen on lap five, was caught out by higher than expected tyre degradation, the WAU squad ran long with both cars.

Courtney said the decision had been made after he sacrificed time typically used for qualifying simulations in the morning’s Practice 3 in order to do a long run.

“This morning we ran the whole 20 minutes as a race-run,” he said.

“We worked on the car and had a good idea of what the tyre deg was.

“We knew it was going to blow the tyres off more than it had previously, so that’s why both our cars ran quite deep into the race.

“It paid off doing that run this morning and sacrificing a bit of tuning for qualifying.”

WAU has scored at least one podium at each event this year, with Courtney’s third today adding to his third on Saturday in Adelaide and Pye’s win at Albert Park.

Courtney and Pye sit fifth and sixth in the championship points ahead of Sunday’s second leg of the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.

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