Will Davison rues two-stop strategy gamble
Ford Performance Racing’s Will Davison believes he could have challenged for victory in Race 16 of the V8 Supercars Championship today if not for an early strategic error.
Running third after a strong start, the Tradingpost Falcon driver was one of 10 to pit for the soft tyres when the Safety Car was called on the second lap – locking him into a two-stop strategy.
Restarting 20th after losing a place to fellow two-stopper Jamie Whincup in the pitlane, Davison was unable to make enough progress in the middle stint to be within sight of race leaders Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom after the midrace stops.
The factory Ford pilot picked off Shane van Gisbergen for sixth soon after his second stop, before spending the closing laps stuck behind Russell Ingall.
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“We took a bit of a punt with the strategy,” Davison told Speedcafe.com after the race.
“We discussed doing that before the start because Lowndes did that (make an extra stop to switch the soft tyres under an early Safety Car) in Darwin (Race 12) and it worked well.
“As it showed it wasn’t the ideal strategy. We obviously lost position to Jamie in the pits which cost us track position. After the restart it was a matter of staying out of trouble and he (Jamie) got through a bit quicker than me.
“I had the speed to go with the leaders but just didn’t have the track position. It’s disappointing but it is what it is.”
By contrast, Whincup says that he would have finished in his eventual third position whether he completed one stop or two.
“I think third was the best we could have achieved today with my pace,” said Whincup, who had dropped from second on the grid to run as low as eighth on the opening lap thanks to a clutch problem off the start.
“I was back in the pack and banging doors and wheels with Russell and what not, so it was a matter of keeping it clean and getting through the first lap.
“I was pretty happy with the call to pull me into the pits. That got me out of the drama, it was a good option.”
Importantly, eight of the 10 drivers to pit under the early Safety Car had done so while running behind the car with which they share a pit boom.
Race 17 of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship will take place over 65 laps of the Queensland Raceway layout tomorrow.
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