Will Davison wins Sunday on Gold Coast
Ford driver Will Davison bounced back to claim his seventh V8 Supercars race win of 2012 at the Gold Coast on Sunday.
But the Ford Performance Racing (FPR) pilot says he's no chance of making a late charge in this year's championship race, which is increasingly looking like a two-way battle between teammate Mark Winterbottom and Holden rival Jamie Whincup.
Davison's win came 24 hours after he made a rudimentary error in his first lap of Saturday's 300km race, hitting a wall within minutes of taking over from Finnish co-driver Mika Salo at the 2.96km Surfers Paradise circuit.
Ex-Formula One driver Salo set up Sunday's win, driving 56 of the 102 laps in the race - 22 more than his minimum requirement - to hand over to Davison with the No.6 Falcon in a position for victory.
While Davison's win ends a barren run stretching back to his last victory in May, Whincup's win on Saturday with French co-driver Sebastien Bourdais and second place on Sunday means the defending champion now holds a commanding 218 point lead with just seven races left in 2012.
Davison said he was delighted to make up for his Saturday error but refused to even contemplate an unlikely title push.
"I was really, really angry with myself to be honest but I used that energy today to come back better and better,'' Davison said.
"It'd (the title) be a miracle wouldn't it? Yesterday put the nail in the coffin, particularly as we were in a position to win yesterday's race.
"We'll just try and battle hard and salvage what we can out of the year.''
Davison's win ended an 11-race winning streak for the TeamVodafone outfit of Whincup and Craig Lowndes but Whincup still heads to the next event in Abu Dhabi within grasp of his fourth V8s crown.
But the four-time Bathurst winner was refusing to get too cocky with a maximum haul of 900 points still up for grabs.
"I say it every year and I'm generally proven right, it always comes down to a handful of points in Sydney,'' he said.
"We'll just keep our head down. In a great position, no more, no less than that.''
FPR's Winterbottom, who partnered with Australian IndyCar star Will Power for the weekend, emerged as Whincup's nearest rival by securing his second third-place finish on Sunday, moving ahead of Lowndes in the standings after the 38-year-old could only manage to come sixth in both races.
Winterbottom said he was looking forward to stepping up the rivalry in the Middle East, where the V8s will compete in three short 12-lap races as part of the undercard to the Formula One race at the Yas Marina circuit from November 2-4.
"I think the format's going to be quite good,'' Winterbottom said.
"It's pure racing, there's no team to help you. You've just got to go out, qualify well and race, it's going to be a good battle.''
Will Davison (#6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon – 1st)
“I just wanted to get around that first lap today! I had to take a good hard look at myself last night, but what a way to bounce back.
“I got to learn how to string two days together. We’ve had so much speed the last few months but we’ve had nothing to show for it.
“It is fantastic to get another win as it feels like so long since my last one. I actually had to fight much harder than I thought as Tim (Slade) came out in front of me after the last stop which I hadn’t thought of. Once I got past him I had to press on but also try and conserve my tires which thankfully I had the car to do it with really easily.
"We were under a lot of pressure and Mika did such an amazing job so I am really happy for him that we finally got our win here. I let us down yesterday but we made up for it today.”
Mika Salo (#6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon – 1st)
“It’s great. I got a surfboard last year so now we’ve got the first place one to take home too. Yesterday was bad luck, it was good to bounce back today.
“I had a really good race and it is great to win but when I flat-spotted my tire at the start I had so much vibration. We waited to get into the fuel window and then our strategy changed so I ended up driving more laps than Will. We had a good pit stop and he got to the lead quickly and we ended up with the win after Will held off Jamie and Mark. It is very satisfying to win here as we blew it last year and we blew it yesterday so at least now both my kids get a surfboard to play with in the snow back in Finland.”
Jamie Whincup (#1 TeamVodafone Commodore – 2nd)
“It’s almost déjà vu, we had a win and a second last year and two poles too! I can’t thank Seb and the team enough. We’ll take that. The heat was on there at the end, I really enjoyed it.
“It was really on at that last restart. My tires were pretty cold on those Safety Car laps but the car has been excellent and now we head into the last three events.”
Sebastien Bourdais (#1 TeamVodafone Commodore – 2nd)
“I couldn’t be any happier for Jamie. He leaves the Gold Coast with an even bigger points lead so it’s been great today.”
Mark Winterbottom (#5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon – 3rd)
“We had another good day but we had to make a small recovery after we had a little trouble in the pit stop where we changed our brakes. We weren’t quite square in the box and with so many other stops going on around me it meant I struggled to get out of the pit bay.
"We came out and tried as hard as we could but we used our rear tires up a bit much getting back to the front. On the restart I tried to have a go at passing Jamie but he held his line and I couldn’t do anymore from there."
Will Power (#5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon – 3rd)
“I definitely enjoyed the race today. The pit stop was a bit hectic as suddenly I had a car to get around which is something I hadn’t experienced before today. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed working with Mark. He is a brilliant driver and two third places give me two surfboards to take home and use on the lake I live on in Charlotte.”
Tim Slade (#47 Lucky 7 Falcon - 4th)
"We lead for quite a few laps and really that was all to do with the strategy that Wes (McDougall, engineer) and Luke came up with and Brabs' performance that put me in that position. All I had to do was pretty much drive it to the end.
"Brabs did an awesome job and I think he was in the car longer than me in that race which is a massive ask of a guy that is a non-regular. He doesn't drive our cars all the time and this is such a difficult track.
"Overall I'm really happy and I think we were third overall on points for the weekend. Fourth and fifth is great especially on a weekend like this where there are so many elements thrown at you."
David Brabham (#47 Lucky 7 Falcon - 4th)
"I had a great run today, got off the line OK and didn't get into any trouble. The car that stopped at the start was right in front of me and I could see that he jumped a little bit before he stalled.
"Then it was just a case of settling in and picking one off at a time. The team obviously decided to come in on the second Safety Car but not change drivers and then I had quite a long second stint. The pace seemed to be pretty good and we were looking quite good actually."
Craig Lowndes (#888 TeamVodafone Commodore – 6th)
“We made improvements overnight and we were strong. Richard (Lyons) did a fantastic job and we gave him a much better car today. The Championship is now a bit of a long shot from there though.
(On clutch problems)
“The rule is you can’t spin the rear wheels in the pit stop. I had to grab neutral into the box, get it in the air, turn the engine off, put it into first gear and start it on the starter motor. It was half in my mind what to do.”
Lee Holdsworth (#4 IRWIN Falcon - 8th)
"A stellar effort to get the car back on the track by everyone at Stone Brothers Racing. To have a really good race car was just brilliant.
"Yesterday was such a shame as we not only lost the car for the race, but also the information from running that race. It really would have set-up us up for a stronger run this morning in qualifying.
"I really wanted to get a result with Simon again this year, but I hope he's keen to come back because he's right at the top of my list."
Simon Pagenaud (#4 IRWIN Falcon - 8th)
"Congratulations to the boys for getting the car back together as from what I saw it was destroyed. The car was really good to drive and I enjoyed my time at the wheel.
"I have to say Lee is like a rocket ship at the wheel. He had a fantastic drive and got us up to eighth. I'm really happy with the result after the situation we faced after yesterday's race.
"It's been great teaming up with Lee again and I have enjoyed driving the IRWIN car. I would be more than happy to come back with Lee again next year."
Shane van Gisbergen (#9 SP Tools Falcon - 9th)
"Jeroen did a great job at the start but then his tires went off and he started to struggle. Then with strategies there were guys on good tires so we started to drop back a little bit due to that.
"When we came in for a stop and our rims were actually oval shape so there was a massive vibration because of it. There was big vibration and I tried to push but I was almost in the wall at every corner. So I pitted again but I had the same problem straight out of the pits.
"On the last stop we changed the tires again and finally the problem was fixed. I had good speed and the car was fast but unfortunately we were a fair way back and I had to fight my way back through."
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#9 SP Tools Falcon - 9th)
"Today was not too bad and we had a decent result but obviously we were hoping for a little bit more. I had a really good start and a really good first part of my stint where I could keep up with the lead guys. Then sort of half way through my stint I got some problems and I think one of the tires got damaged from the curbs.
"I started to struggle a little bit but still I could hold my position pretty well. My lap times were just dropping away a little bit and it was good that in the end we could keep it in the top 10. In the end we were hoping to make our way up a little bit but that wasn't possible with the damaged tires."
Max Papis (#17 Jim Beam Falcon - 12th)
"I felt that all weekend that we fought really hard and I was proud of my progression that I had in the car, it got better and better. We finished with a top 12, and definitely had chance to finish in the top 10 easily. It was a great honor to be with Dick Johnson Racing and to share a car with Steven. I really felt we came home with the best we could."
David Reynolds (#55 The Bottle-O Falcon - 13th)
“I’m sorry for Nick that we didn’t get the result we wanted but we haven’t really had the best weekend all round. We never quite qualified as high as we should’ve and that had a knock on effect in the races.
"The race set-up was much better than the one we had in qualifying though in the end I ran out of brakes and made a few silly mistakes which cost me some places. Nick was very, very impressive. He was quick, easy to work with and gave good feedback so I really enjoyed driving with him. I’m just sorry we couldn’t get a good result for him.”
Nick Heidfeld (#55 The Bottle-O Falcon - 13th)
“We didn’t get the result we thought possible today but congratulations to Will and Mika for winning. The start was much better though I had nowhere to go and made a little contact with another car which delayed me. I then got into a good rhythm and was making progress when I got turned around by another car. Dave then recovered when I got out of the car as the team had a good strategy but we couldn’t quite get the result we wanted. I had a lot of fun though and it is a very cool event to be a part of.”
Taz Douglas (#30 iSelect Commodore - 16th)
Tweet - "No cool suit or helmet fan for the whole race!!!! Fair to say I was pretty sketchy in that race!"
Dean Fiore (#12 Jim Beam Falcon - 19th)
"We were behind the eight-ball when Gianni (Morbidelli, co-driver) was helped into the wall by Salo which was unfortunate, and when you are 10 laps down, the game you have to play is to use the race as a test session and try and learn something for next year.
"It was a shame as we had a really really good car and our times were competitive. There are still positives to take out of something that doesn’t look that great on the sheets."
Jason Bright (#8 Team BOC Commodore - DNF)
"In the qualifying session I hit the curb, which caused two damaged rims, a bent front shock and cracked the diff. I think that may have had something to do with Stephane going straight on at Turn 11 in the race.
"The drivers asked for the high curbs to be removed in the driver briefing but the officials chose not to remove them. They aren't necessary on that turn as, at that section of the circuit, you can't cut the track anyway.
"Apart from Stephane brushing the wall today I can't fault any of his driving. He did a fantastic job and I hope he's my teammate for next year's event here."
Stephane Sarrazin (#8 Team BOC Commodore - DNF)
"I went into the corner too fast and I touched the wall slightly. I rubbed the front-right suspension and the damage was too severe to repair and get back out.
"It's a shame because we were going so well and I was pushing the car to the limit. Unfortunately that's racing.
"Next year, if I get the opportunity to come back, I will jump at the chance to join Team BOC and be Jason's co-driver. He's been doing a really good job and he's one of the quickest drivers out there."
Peter Kox (#18 Team Norton DJR Falcon - DNF)
“Obviously I am very disappointed because yesterday was not one of my best races, and I would have liked to have left Australian with a better feeling. Unfortunately, the car stalled and I lost all power. I tried to reset it, but I had no power.”