After a pretty dominant weekend at the Clipsal 500, the team was cautiously confident heading into the second round of the 2014 Carrera Cup Championship at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Our previous driver Jonny Reid had qualified on Pole and won the first race of the 2011 Championship, but we hadn’t had great results at Albert Park since.
It was to be the third consecutive weekend on the road for the awesome MR crew after running six GT3 Cup Challenge cars in the Top Gear Festival of Speed at Eastern Creek the weekend before (immediately after the Clipsal Carrera Cup round).
Luffy’s N2C/ Phase 8 car was again, a bullet all weekend.
After qualifying on Pole, Luffy completely fluffed his start but did a good job to hold on to second after a very exciting turn one. He held position behind Steven Richards and finished a nice safe second.
In race two he had a demon start from grid two and drove a great race to head home Richards and Foster.
Race three saw Luffy get an average jump off the line from Pole which required a fairly forceful chop across the bows of Richo, he then simply drove away from the field in a dominant display.
Luffy left Albert Park with a handy 36 point lead in the Championship.
Shae had another tough weekend. After just missing pole to Luffy and Richo, Shae had a great start but this unfortunately forced him to go to the outside of Luffy and Richo into turn one, this forced him too wide and created opportunities for the cars behind. He drove an aggressive race with bent steering and managed to get home in 5th.
Race 2 was a disaster with Shae getting a another blinding start and looking to run with Luffy and Richo until a completely out-of-control Patrizi came flying into turn one with all his tyres locked-up spearing straight into Shae’s rear wheel. This put Shae out of the race and his car required a new upright and other suspension parts.
After starting race 3 off rear-of-grid, Shae did great job to negotiate the heavy traffic and finish 8th.
‘Princess’ had her best result so far in Carrera Cup.
After finishing every race lap in the top 18, in a 23 car field at the Clipsal 500, we predicted and expected Princess to run in the top 15 at the AGP.
She qualified 15th and finished 15th in race 1. In race 2 she got a good start and ‘switched on’ quicker than before to drive the race of her career hunting down and passing Steve Grove and James Bergmuller to record her first top 10 finish in Carrera Cup.
Typically modest, Princess rated her performance as only an 8 out of 10, citing plenty of improvements required in the future.
In the final race she backed up her outstanding second race performance with another fighting drive to finish 12th.
‘Wallsy’ was looking to build on the great job he had done in the first round at Adelaide. He was disappointed to qualify 6th, but this was offset by beating current Elite class leader and former team-mate Tony Bates.
He had a good run going in race 1 until he got caught by the ‘marbles’ left by the F1 cars around the back of the circuit which sent him into the barriers. This meant the MR crew didn’t get to leave the circuit until 2:30am on Saturday morning.
Unfortunately the car lost drive on the way to the grid for race 2 as a result of a problem from the previous night’s repairs, so TW didn’t get to start the second race.
A great drive from the rear of the grid with an inconsistent brake pedal netted Wallsy 6th in race 3.
Despite plenty of promise, the weekend was a disappointment for Tony and his crew.
What a crazy weekend..!! Obviously we are chuffed Luffy had been able to secure Pole and two more wins, but at the same time gutted for Shae and Tony. Shae’s terrible luck despite having massive speed and Tony Wall’s ‘marble incident’.
We have no doubt that Shae will win many races over the remainder of the Championship, he just needs a change in fortune. To back up his lap record from Clipsal, he had the fastest race lap at the AGP.
Renee made the improvements we are after, and it was great to see the guys she beat coming over to congratulate her on a fantastic performance. She has now earned the respect from her competitors as a fierce racer and not just the best looking one. (except perhaps for Luffy!!)
Tony Walls was robbed of a decent result at Albert Park but remains positive for round three.
Thanks to all our partners and supporters for keeping in touch and following us on our journey so far in the 2014 Carrera Cup Championship.
We now have a couple of rounds of GT3 Cup Challenge ahead with Carrera Cup set to resume on 23 May at Phillip Island. That will be one to watch with the new cars potentially being faster than the V8s..!!