From podiums to punts, Le Brocq's big weekend at The Bend
Supercars wrap up for car 55
It was another huge logistical effort for all the Supercars teams to pack up from Townsville Queensland and make the 2,500 Km journey to South Australia's Bend Motorsport Park. With a one weekend layover the Tickford team hit the road for the next Double Header in the Supercars Championship. This meant the team had little time to prepare the cars, but with little damage from Townsville the team had everything in hand despite the long period away from their Victorian Headquarters. Before the Race Jack shared his thoughts on the track, "I'm looking forward to get-ting back into it and having some fun. We've been improving the car each round and I'm feeling more comfortable pushing it each round, that's started to pay off in Townsville. The team was quick here last year so hopefully, we can continue that this weekend and on our side of the garage we can keep building my confidence in the car and keep chipping away towards the front."
Saturday started with Le Brocq's Mustang supported by Bendix heading out for the two practice sessions before qualifying, where Jack set a decent time in the first session with a 1m48.82s lap. The No. 55 maintained its pace into the second practice session and then into qualifying posting the 7th fastest time of 1m48.54s for another great starting spot in race 25 of the Championship. Le Brocq managed a good start and maintained position; the team went for the undercut which worked in Jacks favour with the Lap 5 pit stop giving him clean air and enough time to cycle into the fight for the win once all cars made their compulsory stop. A three-way battle ensued between himself, Shane in the 97 Commodore and Fabian in the DJR Mustang, all swapping positions in the top 3 for a number of laps. On lap 18, Le Brocq had made an inside pass on leader Van Gisbergen at Turn 17, but tried to hang on around the outside at the next corner when the Kiwi completed a criss-cross. Jack was hung out to dry again on the final corner by the 97 Commodore as they wrestled for the lead with Fabian taking advantage, eventually, Jack got passed Shane who slipped down the order and set about chasing Fabian in the DJR Mustang but ran out of laps and settled for a second place.
Jack gave us his thoughts on the race "I had a blast, it was awesome racing. I'm a bit annoyed at myself, I just put my car in the wrong spots trying to pass Shane (van Gisbergen), but I was going for the win. Brad (Brad Wischusen, engineer) was in my ear after I tried to pass on the outside telling me to sort myself out, but it's great to be back on the podium. Car was great, pit stop was great, you live and learn with those battles, but yeah, I'm still stoked with the result." Team Principal Tim Edwards gave his thoughts on Jacks performance, What a crazy day that was. First off is massive congratulations to Jack, he drove extremely well. He may have gotten a bit greedy trying to pass Shane, but to put him in a fight for the win and see him battle like that, it's exactly what we want to see from him, and hopefully a sign of things to come."
Sunday's action kicked away with the two-morning qualifying sessions, Le Brocq posting times that put him 14th and 11th on the grid for the day's races. When Race 26 started, Jack made another good getaway and made progress through the field helped by slick pit stops by the Tickford team and eventually finished a respectable 10th place. The final Race of the weekend did not go to plan, starting from a better grid position Jack was mixing it in the top 10 battle pack on lap one when all hell broke loose with Shane in the 97 Commodore punting a Kelly Racing Mustang into a spin. As Jack approached the incident, he was then punted by David Reynolds Commodore, which caused a bigger accident with Winterbottom and James Courtney's cars. Jack soldiered on, but he locked up his left, damaging the tyre severely enough that he needed to pit for a second time. The second stop dropped Le Brocq to the rear of the field, en route to a 21st place finish.
Jack gave us his thoughts on Sunday's action, "Today had a little bit of everything, but overall it wasn't terrible. Qualifying was okay, probably a little bit off what we wanted it to be, we had a little more understeer than we wanted, but we were there or thereabouts. The first Race was good, we had okay speed, I was able to climb up four spots and get to 10th and had a pretty cool little drag race to the line. But the last Race wasn't that flash, we were trucking along half okay, then I'm not sure what happened, I just locked a front tyre, and the flat spot was that bad we had to pit again. Once we did that we just circulated, I set the fastest lap, but that's about all the positives from that Race. It's a sour way to end the weekend, but I think we took another step forward on our car which is encouraging, hopefully we can do it again next week.
Team Principal Tim Edwards reflected on the weekend, "It definitely wasn't the way we wanted to end the weekend after the competitiveness we had yesterday. The weather conditions were a fair bit different today and that seems to have turned the track conditions against our cars a bit. Our engineers did well to make changes to the cars for the second Race today, then obviously JC and Jack had their issues which put a dampener on things. On the positive side, Cam did well to accumulate points, and he and Jack have given us a bit of a cushion in the teams' Championship which is good as well. Our crew also had the fastest pit stop today of 2.7 seconds, so while the results aren't quite what we want there are a fair few positives to take away from the day and the weekend."
The Supercars Championship is set to stay in South Australia for the next leg of the doubleheader, the OTR Supersprint at the Bend Motorsport Park with Jack maintaining his 15th spot in the Cham-pionship.