After Saturday’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 race, much attention was given to winning International driver, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS of France, who previously won twice at Surfer’s in the CART series. He was all smiles after The first of two rounds, “It was a very special day. I am very happy. I had a great car, great teammate, and great team.” It was the first time for Bourdais at Surfers to have to save tires and conserve fuel. His winning teammate, JAMIE WHINCUP, said he conserved fuel using the trim switch. They drove No.88 TeamVodafone Holden.
Bourdais said the race was as fun as it looked. “I was kinda afraid to get too big a lead or I might get a yellow flag.”
Bourdais said it was pressure, but he was glad he could help his teammate with his Championship battle. Whincup had been 100 points behind points leader/teammate, CRAIG LOWNDES & ANDY PRIAULX/No.888 before the race. However, Priaulx had electrical problems and later, ANDY BURGESS of Team Vodafone was seen on TV talking with a V8 official about the broken Bollards on track. Then Lowndes retired with radiator problems blamed on Bollards.
Whincup was one of several drivers who complained about the Bollards. He said “The Bollards out there kept getting broken.”
All three Safety Car situations were to remediate Bollard problems of one sort or another. They kept getting broken and in need of repair, and spreading debris. One such repair detail was cliff-hanging, in that the workman was near the edge of the kerb doing his work, and racecars were coming within inches in front of him and one short cut the course behind him.
Salo, who was driving the Bundaberg car last year, said that Bollards were brought up in the Drivers’ Meeting, and changes were made. But the changes didn’t work as well as expected. He opined they were better than last year’s movable tire bundles. “I broke three steering arms last year on them.”
Bourdais said, regarding the Bollard situation, “I don’t know. When they have to put out a safety car for a broken Bollard…I don’t know.”
Bourdais was asked how he compared the two track configurations. “I was a big fan of the long track, but I understand it’s a compromise with the city. It doesn’t change the way the race is won. It’s still a crazy place, with fantastic atmosphere and great crowds. There are fewer straights, so it’s harder to pass. But, it is a good show for the fans. It’s the right balance.”
MARK WINTERBOTTOM & RICHARD LYONS of Ireland were third in No.5 Orrin Steel FPR Ford. Winterbottom said “The track is faster this year.”
Whincup joked that his co-driver helped with the car development. Bourdais was finding things which didn’t suit him and was told by the team they had been on the car and/or done that same way for a long time.
WILL DAVISON/No.6 Trading Post FPR Ford praised his co-driver, MIKA SALO of Finland. “There was a lot to take in, all the rules and regulations, and the changes. But he only had to be told once, and he took it all in.”