Heimgartner speedy in Sydney

Andre Heimgartner battled hard throughout the Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight, Round 8 of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship. Photo supplied

Dannemora’s Andre Heimgartner drove to a top 10 finish amidst some serious on-track action as Supercars returned for Round 8 of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.

The Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight saw Heimgartner, who is Melbourne-based, battle hard throughout the event, the first of four weekends in a row at Sydney Motorsport Park where grip and tyre life are more critical than at any other circuit on the Supercars calendar.

“Positive overall – it wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t a disaster but a good solid weekend overall,” said the Kelly Grove Racing driver.

“Some good learnings to come from it, which was the main thing and we should be able to take a couple of steps forwards, which should be good in the coming rounds.”

Races 20, 21 and 22 of the 2021 season saw three 32-lap races around the 3.93-kilometre Grand Prix, with the #7 Ned Racing Mustang coming home 14th, 9th and 13th respectively as choosing when to manage tyres and when to attack presented a serious challenge to the entire field.

Qualifying for Race 20 saw Heimgarter just outside the top 10, with a tight midfield battle seeing the Ned Whisky Mustang line up 12th for Saturday evening’s night race.

Heimgarter rolled out with a 1:29.2779 lap, which he set early on and saw him park the #7 Ned Racing Mustang in seventh place for the start of Race 21.

“Nice to string it together” said Heimgartner in between two qualifying sessions. “We have extra tyres obviously from yesterday, so we were able to take advantage of that. Good to be back. There have been a few rounds where we’ve been struggling, so good to have some consistency and a good car.”

Race 21 saw Heimgarter rocket off his starting grid to be in an arm wrestle with pole sitter Anton DePasquale, who’d slid back after a poor start. Pitting from fifth place on lap 18, the Ned Racing Mustang rejoined in 15th position and began a charge on fresh rubber to be 12th one lap later.

With all pit stops complete, Heimgartner had pushed back into the top 10, passing Will Brown on lap 24 to come home in ninth place, before a post-race disqualification of Anton DePasquale elevated the #7 Ned Racing Mustang into eighth.

Race 22 saw Heimgartner start 14th and drive superbly to maintain the result as the field struggled with limited tyres. An intense opening set of laps saw Heimgarter rise to 11th place at the end of the first lap, driving around the outside of a stoush unscathed at the hairpin that saw Todd Hazelwood pit with damage.

“It was cool – a lot of action going on, a lot of biff and barging everywhere, so it was pretty cool to be involved,” said Heimgartner. “I just love racing and especially when you come out on the right side, it’s even more enjoyable.”

The #7 Ned Racing Mustang crossed the line three-wide into the third lap, as the tussles continued, Heimgartner seventh on the road when he made his compulsory pit stop on Lap 12.

Back in 16th, Heimgartner pushed hard, overtaking Kelly Grove Racing team mate Reynolds for 12th place along the way on Lap 15. With all compulsory pit stops completed, Heimgarter had made his way to an excellent 10th place, before fresher-tyred rivals including Cam Waters and Jack Le Brocq saw Heimgarter finish one-spot better than his starting position in 13th.

The #7 Ned Racing Mustang will race this coming weekend, November 6-7, for Round 9 of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship, The Armor All Sydney SuperNight, at Sydney Motorsport Park.