A stoic end to the sunny Gold Coast for Heimgartner

On lap five and while in ninth position, Andre Heimgartner would be turned around by Dean Fiore for heavy damage to the rear of the Number 14. Photo Dirk Klynsmith Photograph

It was a hard day at the office for Freightliner Racing, however ‘super sub’ Andre Heimgartner did all he could to put in a solid performance despite a number of curve balls.

Following his Carrera Cup race victory yesterday morning, the 22-year-old watched on as driving partner Tim Slade took the wheel of the Number 14 Commodore during Supercars qualifying. Unfortunately, an oil line would come loose on the engine, spraying oil onto the exhaust for an engine bay fire and negating a good lap Slade was on at the time. The entry would finish qualifying in 12th and with plenty of work to be done ahead of the afternoon’s race.

Soon after taking second in the Carrera Cup title by the narrowest margin ever with third in the final Porsche race, Heimgartner climbed aboard the repaired Freightliner Racing Commodore to start Supercars’ Race 22 from the sixth row of the grid.

It was a good race start for the Dannemora driver, moving quickly into the top 10 and looking ready to make further moves up the order.

However, the Melbourne-based racer wouldn’t have the chance. On lap five and while in ninth position, he would be turned around by Dean Fiore for heavy damage to the rear of the Number 14. Fiore would serve a pit lane penalty for the contact, but that wouldn’t make up for a long trip to the garage for Heimgartner.

A mammoth effort from the crew saw Heimgartner sent back out 17 laps down the order, with the young racer putting in a solid performance for the remainder of his stint before handing over to Slade, who brought the entry home in 23rd position.

“I got a great start to the race today (Sunday), and felt like I was getting into a comfortable groove when I was hit,” Heimgartner explained.

“I was keeping my usual line going into the corner when I got this huge whack. I’m not sure if Dean had locked the brakes or not, but it was a pretty big hit.

“I’m just really disappointed for the guys after the awesome result we had yesterday (Saturday) and seeing the efforts they put in this morning. We could have brought home a top ten which would have been really cool.

“I guess we just have to focus on the results of yesterday (Saturday) and also the potential that we had today (Sunday). I have to thank everyone at Brad Jones Racing and Freightliner Racing for welcoming me to the team and for making me so comfortable. I have really enjoyed my time with them at Bathurst and here on the Gold Coast.”

Heimgartner now looks towards heading over to his home-track, New Zealand’s Pukekohe Raceway, where he will race a Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry in the BNT V8s. The category is racing as support to the ITM Auckland Super Sprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway across November 3-5.