Stone Brothers Racing says that if today’s L&H 500 had been one lap longer, the #9 SP Tools Falcon might not have finished.
Shane van Gisbergen and John McIntyre watched a sure second place evaporate in the closing laps when a delamentated front right tyre forced van Gisbergen to nurse his car home to fifth place.
On lap 97, van Gisbergen took second place from Garth Tander and went about hunting down race leader and eventual winner Craig Lowndes.
The Kiwi SP Tools Racing driver got the gap to Lowndes down to 3.5s, but with five laps to go, the damaged tyre ended his charge. Van Gisbergen brought his Stone Brothers Racing car home in fifth place, losing three positions in the final two laps.
Van Gisbergen’s team-mate McIntyre said that the car was lucky to make it to the finish line.
“It was exciting watching Shane catching Lowndes. Shane was worried that he wasn’t quick enough, but he was obviously really mowing him down,” McIntyre told Speedcafe.com.
“He came on the radio with about five laps to go and said that he thought the tyre was going down.
“He was very close to pitting, but he managed it really well and held on the best he could for fifth.
“It’s disappointing not to be to the podium where we deserved to be, but that’s the way it goes. Any longer, we might have had a DNF. The cords are hanging out of the tyre, so it wasn’t going to do much more. It actually looks like one of Shane’s Hamilton burnout tyres!”
The Phillip Island race was McIntyre’s first since wrapping up the NZ V8 Touring Car crown at Hamilton in April.
While he has been kept busy getting the new V8SuperTourers class prepared for 2012, McIntyre was pleased with his speed.
“It’s my first motor race since Hamilton in April, and I’m really happy with my performance,”
“I was probably a little conservative with my stints – I could have pushed harder – but there’s always a chance that you are going to run a little longer and you need to look after the tyres.
“We had a great car. We tuned it up. We worked well from a engineering/driver point of view, so bring on the Mountain.”
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s extensive race report from today’s L&H 500 Phillip Island.