Surfers Nikon Indy: Friday Notebook
Local drivers have continued to rule on day two of the Nikon Indy 300, with Queensland’s Will Power and Jamie Whincup topping the fields in the IndyCar Series and V8 Supercars respectively.
Toowoomba’s Power showed the rest of his open-wheel counterparts exactly how it should be done as the international visitors took to the track for the first time this week for two practice sessions.
While half of the 24 strong field have previously competed on the Streets of Surfers Paradise (including three Gold Coast race winners – Dario Franchitti, 1999; Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2003 and Bruno Junqueira, 2004), Power was untouchable, lapping at an average speed of 106.130 mph (1m 34.8084s) compared to the next fastest Helio Castroneves at 104.637mph (1m 36.1609s).
Setting the fastest statistics straight out of gate today, Power is certainly looking strong ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying, which will take place from 1.10pm after a morning practice session.
One person who doesn’t have to worry about putting their car on the pole starting position tomorrow is Whincup in the Coffee Club V8 Supercar Challenge. The current championship leader held off last year’s Gold Coast winner and reigning Series champion Garth Tander and Paul Dumbrell to take the top spot.
Whincup’s result sees him as the first Ford driver to claim pole on the Streets of Surfers Paradise since 1999 and with the best starting position possible for tomorrow’s opening 120 kilometer stanza.
When the headline acts weren’t on-track, the support categories certainly kept the track busy North Queenslander John Martin in Formula 3 continuing the charge for the local brigade of drivers on-track this weekend.
Martin took his second race victory for the weekend by beating race one runner-up James Winslow across the line while setting a new track lap record with a lap of 1m 47.9630s – smashing the standing record of 1m 48.9407s which he himself set the day before.
The Coates Aussie Racing Cars headed out for their second of three races mid-morning, with Nick Simmons continuing his race winning form to make it two in a row this weekend, with top qualifier for the weekend Paul Kemal setting the fastest lap of the race at 2.07.3380 seconds during the six lap hit-out.
While the Haymans Electrical Porsche Carrera Cup didn’t head out today, instead saving their second and third races for the Saturday and Sunday of the four day Event, there was never an empty minute on-track with a full entertainment program.
The FMX show, CAPA Stunt Team, Ben Bray and his burnout ute, the 360 Commodre and Police Mustang car, Bartercard Miss Indy parades, the XXXX Angels and the drift cars kept the crowd happy while the Australian Defense Force turned it on with their Tiger Helicopters, Army Red Berets Parachute Team, Army Parades and even a practice F111 fly-by which stunned the crowd.
With 96 hours of non-stop excitement over October 23-26 as the Gold Coast comes alive to the sound of the IndyCar Series burning up the track and Australia’s own V8 Supercars scorching around one of the most famous beach-side cities in the world, the event is the hottest ticket in town.