After starting on the front row for the Penrite Oil Sandown 500, the #7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima Andre Heimgartner has shared with Bryce Fullwood across the PIRTEK Enduro Cup was brought home in eighth position after 500km of tough racing on Sunday.
While an undeniably strong result for the Melbourne-based driver from Dannemora and his co-driver, the top eight finishing position does not tell the full story of the speed and potential shown by the #7 and its drivers across the weekend.
That potential was clearly on-show during Saturday’s proceedings, with the pair impressing during the qualifying races.
Heimgartner first qualified the car for the co-drivers race in P3. Fullwood then brought the #7 home in third in that race before Heimgartner would finish the main drivers qualifying race in P2 – a Supercars career-best result for the 24-year-old which also secured the front-row starting position on the grid for Sunday’s big race.
“We had some fantastic car speed in the #7 this weekend. It was great on Saturday to secure second – my best Supercars result so far – in the main drivers qualifying race and with it, lock down a front row grid spot for the Sandown 500,” Heimgartner explained.
Fullwood was the starting driver for Sunday’s Sandown 500 and in a strong display retained second on the road until the first round of pit stops, where he unfortunately incurred a 15 second time penalty for speeding in pit lane.
Fullwood continued on in the car after the first stop before returning to the lane from sixth position on lap 56 to hand over to Heimgartner, who was forced to wait out the 15 second penalty before being able to re-join the field in 20th position.
Heimgartner quickly went to work to move his way up the field to eventually bring home a top eight result.
“Things were looking really strong early on Sunday, but unfortunately a mistake in the pit lane saw us served with a 15 second time penalty which really knocked us around.
“We weren’t going to give up though, we pushed through and did all we could to salvage a top eight result which was very rewarding at one of the biggest events of the year.
Heimgartner and Kelly Racing will next be on-track with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 across November 22-24.
Before they head to New South Wales for that season-ending event however, they will travel to South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park for the final round of the TCR Australia Championship – held as part of the Shannons Nationals – across November 15-17.