Following a difficult weekend at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600, Dannemora’s Andre Heimgartner is hoping next month’s final round of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup – the Sandown 500 – will yield better results for his #7 Plus Fitness Kelly Racing Nissan Altima.
The weekend on the streets of Surfers Paradise got off to a good start for the Melbourne-based Kiwi, with Heimgartner making his way into his first Gold Coast Top Ten Shootout and the second of his career to start Saturday’s race from the fourth row on the grid.
Saturday’s race was initially looking like a strong outing for Heimgartner and his co-driver Bryce Fullwood with the pairing well inside the top 10 across the majority of the race and as high as sixth during the 102 lap race before disaster struck just laps from the finish.
With Heimgartner at the wheel for the run to the flag, the #7 would be spun hard into the wall from eighth place after receiving contact from James Courtney. Courtney was deemed by race control to be at fault and was quickly given a drive-through penalty for the incident.
Sunday was a new day, but unfortunately, it would not bring with it new fortunes, with Fullwood narrowly escaping a multi-car pile-up on the first lap.
While Fullwood was able to continue on unlike a number of his competitors who found themselves stranded, the #7 did incur front end damage which saw the Altima hampered from the get-go. The pair would bring it home in 21st place.
“It has sure been a character-building weekend at the Gold Coast for Bryce and I,” Heimgartner said.
“We were having a pretty strong day on Saturday until we were spun and,as we have seen, everyone has their opinions on that! At the end of the day, race control had their say on what happened, we agree with their call and really there isn’t much else to say about it.
“Come Sunday we wanted to put it behind us and try and salvage a decent result but unfortunately we got caught up in someone else’s incident in what turned out to be some real lap one carnage.
“Bryce did a great job to get the car through where a lot of others did not, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to escape completely unscathed and that left us with a damaged front end and behind the eight ball for the rest of the race.
“Bryce and I and the entire team I think are looking forward to heading to Sandown in a couple of weeks’ time where hopefully we can put this one behind us and have a better weekend.”
Heimgartner and Kelly Racing will next be on-track in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 – the final round of the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup – which will be held at Sandown Raceway across November 8-10.