Drivers praise ‘brave’ decision to abandon qualifying

Shane van Gisbergen during qualifying at Pukekohe

Drivers have praised race officials for their ‘brave’ decision to abandon qualifying for Race 23 at the ITM Auckland Super Sprint.

Heavy rain throughout the morning left deep areas of standing water, and with little grip on the newly resurfaced back straight officials took the decision to show the red flag four minutes into the qualifying session.

“They made the right call in qualifying,” asserted Shane van Gisbergen.

“The whole track was fine in qualifying, but the back straight, there’s something crazy about it.

“I think it’s too fresh, they (resurfaced) it too recently. There’s so much oil on the surface, when we did our track walk you were sliding with your shoes on.”

“I thought today calling the qualifying session was pretty brave,” added Mark Winterbottom.

“People who’ve paid money want to watch sessions and that back straight was horrendous.”

Qualifying was initially delayed 20-minutes as race control waited for conditions to improve, while Driving Standards Advisor Craig Baird monitored van Gisbergen’s radio once the green light was shown.

“Bairdo was listening to my radio and I finished the first lap and I said I’m pitting, this is too much, it’s crazy, and then he red-flagged it,” said Van Gisbergen.

“I think he thought I’d be the last guy to back out of it.

“People were giving us **** because the support categories were out there but, for us, our tyre’s not really built for proper wet conditions and it’s just too much.

“There’s a little bit of rain forecast tomorrow but hopefully it’s not too much and we can have a safe qualifying and a safe race.”

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