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Team-mates clear air after ‘stupid’ clash

Tom Howard

Sunday 25th August, 2019 - 7:40pm

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Andre Heimgartner and Simona De Silvestro clashed at the end of Race 22 pic: AJP Photography

Kelly Racing team-mates Simona De Silvestro and Andre Heimgartner have held clear the air talks after a late tangle in Race 22 which the former described as ‘stupid’.

The pair made contact on lap 39 of the 41-lap race at The Bend while fighting over 21st position after separate incidents during the encounter put both Altimas towards the rear of the field.

Heimgartner attempted to pass De Silvestro at the Turn 6 hairpin and the ensuing contact resulted in the latter spinning out.

The incident was investigated by the stewards who decided to take no further action as Heimgartner went on to finish 20th while De Silvestro came home in 22nd.

Post-race, the duo discussed the matter behind closed doors.

Speaking after the debrief, De Silvestro felt the incident was unnecessary.

“(It) was stupid I think because first of all we’re racing nowhere, and when after the first stop when he was on a different strategy I made it pretty easy for him to get by,” De Silvestro told Speedcafe.com.

“Then to just kind of get run off was pretty stupid. I don’t know. I’ll just remember it I guess.”

Heimgartner maintains he didn’t do anything wrong and says the matter has been resolved.

“It is what it is. Unfortunately, those last few laps, no one wants to give up a spot, and it was looked into and obviously I wasn’t penalised because there’s nothing I did wrong,” Heimgartner told Speedcafe.com.

“It is what it is, she’s racing hard, I’m racing hard, but we resolved it behind closed doors and it’s all good now.

“You’ve got to sort these things out, you can’t leave them linger within the team because that’s how you get a bad environment, and they sat us down and we spoke over it all and it’s all sorted.”

Despite the incident De Silvestro declared the weekend ‘a positive one’ having extracted strong pace from the updated Altima, resulting in a career best qualifying of 13th in Saturday’s race.

Unfortunately her race was curtailed after becoming involved in a multiple car crash on the opening lap.

“I think all in all (it was) a positive weekend for us,” she added.

“I think we got a lot of speed out of the car, which is really good and just shows that our test day that we did was good for us.

“We’re on the same page, so I think on that side we can be pretty proud of ourselves because I think we definitely closed the gap to the other guys.

“I think that’s a big credit to (engineer) Giovanni Colombo, for getting the car in the window that I like.

“The race pace is a bit more of a struggle today, I don’t know why. We need to kind of analyse that.”

Meanwhile, Heimgartner was left frustrated after a pit stop error prompted a drive-through penalty that cost him a likely top 10 result in Race 22.

“It’s fairly frustrating. (We) should have finished that race sixth or seventh, which would have been really good, good consistency, but unfortunately the pit stop blunder and then the whole drive-through threw that away, so I’m a bit annoyed,” he added.

“I suppose at the end of the day we had good speed again today and we showed it.

“We’re still learning with this aero package so hopefully we’ll take that forward into the next few rounds, and going to my homeland next so it should be good.”

The remaining Kelly Racing Altimas of Rick Kelly and Garry Jacobson finished 11th and 19th respectively.

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