Edwards: Strategy intrigue justified tyre limit
Ford Performance Racing team principal Tim Edwards believes that the action-packed final race at Hidden Valley proved the weekend’s thin tyre allocation a success.
The assignment of just four sets of new tyres for the three qualifying sessions and 400km of racing drew heavy and widespread criticism throughout the Darwin event.
The scenario saw three drivers, including factory Nissan pilots Rick and Todd Kelly, effectively throw Saturday’s second race in order to save tyres for Sunday.
While Saturday’s two sprint 100km races provided little in the way of entertainment, the 200km finale saw an unprecedented level of strategy as teams attempted to make the best of their limited tyre stocks.
Commission member Edwards, whose team won the race with driver Mark Winterbottom after taking the bold move of running its two sets of soft tyres for the duration, dismissed the complaints about the lack of tyres.
“Absolutely,” he told Speedcafe.com when asked if the Sunday action justified the move.
“When was the last time that we had so many different strategies going on in the one race?
“I think it was fantastic. There was a lot of intrigue with the different strategies.
“We were all given the same tyres to race with and people managed them in different ways.
“That created a great spectacle so I think it worked very well.”
Despite the action, the vast majority of drivers and teams remain hopeful that such a thin allocation is not repeated in future.
Among them is Swedish V8 Supercars rookie Robert Dahlgren, who admitted that he’d never come across such a situation in his extensive racing experience.
The 34-year-old praised the category’s regular use of different tyre compounds and race formats to spice-up the action, but agreed that the weekend’s scenario was too extreme.
“A lot of championships in the world look at it in the wrong way and overall V8 Supercars look at it very well,” Dahlgren told Speedcafe.com.
“We don’t race because I think it’s fun to go racing or Garry (Rogers, team owner) thinks it’s fun to go racing.
“We race for all the people that come to the track and the tyres give a great opportunity for good racing.
“But Sunday was certainly a bit extreme, having to start with used hard tyres.
“I’ve never started a race with tyres that bad before ever in my career. It would have been nice to have another set of tyres.
“You can say that it’s the same for everybody but it’s a shame when some have to sacrifice a race just to have good tyres.
“Nobody wants that to happen.”
Although receiving one more set than at Hidden Valley, teams will again have to carefully manage their tyres in Townsville, where two 125km and one 250km races are scheduled.