DAVIES CHARGES INTO THE GRAND PRIX TOP FIVE
CONSISTENT IMPROVEMENT has seen Shae Davies charge his way into the top five on his Porsche Carrera Cup Australia return last weekend at Albert Park.
Fresh from his Dunlop V8 Supercar debut at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide two weeks earlier, Davies returned to the more familiar surrounds of his Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car at the weekend and after a re-learning process quickly found his old speed.
In the closest Carrera Cup qualifying session seen in years he qualified eighth, just 0.7s from pole position, before racing to seventh position in the opening 10-lap race on Friday afternoon.
His adaptation to the Porsche continued Saturday as he progressed two further positions to fifth, before being involved in an intense battle for the final spot on the podium for much of the third and final race – ultimately finishing fourth.
Davies also set the fastest lap of the final race, showing the process across the course of the weekend.
Despite not having driven the car since the final round of the 2014 championship last October, the Gold Coaster said he was pleased with his racing return to the front of the Carrera Cup pack.
“We had a good weekend even though I really suffered early on with a lack of testing and track time,” he said.
“I hadn’t driven the car since race three at the Gold Coast last year so it was a process throughout the weekend to get back into the groove. I didn’t get the most out of the car in qualifying because of that and it was a case of fighting on from there.”
Davies explained that the weekend was a gradual process of making sure he moved further forward in each race he started.
“The car wasn’t quite underneath us in races one and two, but in race three it was really hooked up and we raced where we should be racing. In the end it was immensely satisfying to be there in the end and gives us plenty of motivation to hit the ground running at the next round of the championship.
“With some testing before the next round, I think we can go there and give the championship contenders a real shake!”
The Albert Park event was also the first that Davies had raced with the recently-formed Scott Taylor Racing team – an expanding new outfit formed by series regular Scott Taylor that has big plans for growth into the future.
“STR was great to be part of and racing in Carrera Cup wouldn’t be possible this year if it wasn’t for Scott and his team,” Davies said.
“It’s a new team and everyone is pulling together and learning and did a fantastic job. Working with my engineer, Todd, and guys like Campbell Little was sensational.
“The readjustment (from the V8 Supercar) was on the whole, pretty good. Our speed got better and better as the weekend went on and the more I drive both cars the better it’s going to be as the year goes on.”
Davies next stop will see him back behind the wheel of the Matt Stone Racing Falcon at Barbagello Raceway, in Western Australia, this April, followed by the next Carrera Cup round at Phillip Island in May.
“I’m looking for a step forward in Perth,” Davies said. “I want to cement myself solidly in the top eight. I’ve not been to the track before which offers another challenge, but MSR have run well there in the past so it’s really giving me something to look forward to."
2015 Formula 1 ™ ROLEX Australian Grand Prix Round 2, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Qualifying: 8th Race 1: 7th Race 2: 5th Race 3: 4th Round: 5th
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