Disastrous Darwin leaves KGR scratching its head

Andre Heimgartner couldn’t crack the top 10 in Darwin

Kelly Grove Racing boss Todd Kelly was left puzzled after Andre Heimgartner went from winning in Tailem Bend to starting on the back row in Darwin.

Just a month and a half ago the 26-year-old celebrated his first Supercars race win with a dominant display at The Bend Motorsport Park.

The latest round of the Repco Supercars Championship at Hidden Valley Raceway couldn’t have been any further from that success as he and team-mate David Reynolds locked out the last row of the grid for Race 12.

Heimgartner and Reynolds managed to miss much of the first lap melee, going on to finish 15th and 19th respectively.

Race 13 was a similarly tough time as Heimgartner finished 17th and Reynolds 18th.

The weekend was capped off with a DNF in Race 14 for Heimgartner who suffered an apparent suspension issue while Reynolds was only 19th.

Speaking with Speedcafe.com after the team’s worst weekend of the year, Kelly described the cars as “numb” to set-up changes.

“We had the cars on the [set-up] patch every time they come into the garage throwing set-ups at them,” Kelly explained.

“We just couldn’t get them to work. It would have been good to find an answer by the end of the day but I don’t think we did. There’s a fair bit of head-scratching.

“We hadn’t changed anything [since Tailem Bend]. It’s the same car. We’re just not getting it right.”

Kelly said the team would pore over data in an attempt to pinpoint the weakness in its Ford Mustang pair.

It’s not an unfamiliar story, however.

Since debuting its Stangs at the start of 2020, the team has had up-and-down results round after round.

Last year the team would at times have race-winning pace at some circuits, then stumble at others.

Last year’s double-header in Townsville was a struggle for Heimgartner and then team-mate Rick Kelly, neither cracking the top 10.

“It was only a round ago that no one could catch Andre,” said Kelly.

“It’ll be something simple, we’re just missing the window.

“We just need to spend heaps of time going over all the data and the changes we’ve made and debrief them properly and spend nearly a whole day on it.

“The answer will be in there somewhere.”

The NTI Townsville 500 is scheduled for July 9-11.

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