Lyons avoids Australian crash chaos
Hillsborough born sportscar racer Richard Lyons, last weekend reacquainted himself with the Australian V8 Supercar Championship by taking part in the Gold Coast 600 which comprises of two 300km sprint races. The Surfers Paradise event took on a unique feel as the series organizers invited 28 international co-drivers to race around the temporary street circuit set-up on Surfers Paradise’s seafront. Lyons was invited to partner 3 times champion Craig Lowndes at Team Vodafone ending a five year break.
Initially in practice Lyons struggled the team’s Holden Commodore and find the perfect line whilst avoiding the curbs but after reviewing video and data Lyons made considerable gains in the next session. Lyon commented after qualifying ” over the last 5 years all the teams have gotten to an extremely professional level and I'm sure many F1 teams could take lessons from them. This year again it was all about the Curbs on the 1st and 2nd sectors. Getting a good line and having a compliant car meant the fastest and most consistent lap times. Unfortunately it took our no888 car a little longer to get it right and lagged a little in performance in qualifying speed.”
Race 1 was extremely chaotic affair with the first and restart having to be red flagged due to multi-car collisions on the grid and the resulting accident damaged cars blocking the track. Lyons made up positions on all the starts but on the final start he picked up a little damage on the first chicane avoiding another car, this damage unfortunately came to light when a big vibration came before their scheduled pit stop making Lyons pit out of sequence. In the end Lowndes got in for his stint in the race and brought the car home in 6th, a great result considering the chaos throughout the race.
Race 2 was a little more straight forward with the pair starting from 7th on the grid. Lyons got away perfectly and was up to 5th by turn one. In the early stages he was held up by Mika Salo in the no 6 Ford Performance Racing car but finally got passed and up into 4th. From this stage he had done enough for his stint and just kept close to the rear of his old car from last year the no5 FPR car driven by Will Power. Not long after handing over to Lowndes he lost the clutch so he had to change his driving style quite a bit as this meant no clutch on the downshifts. Unfortunately this meant he was not able to challenge for the podium but brought home another solid 6th place.
Lyons commented on the weekend “ Overall it was an amazing high pressure weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed. The cars around the Gold Coast circuit are like wild animals, you just never know when they going to snap at you. It was definitely the most professional team I've driven with and hope to drive with them again soon.”