Heimgartner: KGR Mustang no longer feels ‘numb’

Andre Heimgartner

Back-to-back finishes of 12th at the Townsville 500 might not seem all that spectacular, but for Andre Heimgartner it’s a marked step in the right direction.

It’s been an up-and-down year for the Kelly Grove Racing driver in this year’s Repco Supercars Championship, his fourth with the Braeside-based squad.

Having scored just one top five finish in the opening three events of 2021, Heimgartner stormed to victory at The Bend Motorsport Park in May, only to find himself qualifying on the back row at Hidden Valley Raceway one round later.

The team was left scratching its head after a weekend in Darwin where Heimgartner and team-mate David Reynolds looked unlikely to threaten the top 10.

Last weekend’s Townsville round brought the team some promising signs though as Reynolds claimed fifth in Race 15 while Heimgartner noticed a significant shift in the understanding of his car.

In Darwin, the team had described its Ford Mustang pair as “numb” to changes. That’s not the case now, according to Heimgartner.

“It’s mostly a feel thing, it’s just trying to understand I guess what you need for a race or even qualifying lap to extract the speed,” Heimgartner told Speedcafe.com.

“Do you need more drive or just need more turn or what aspect of it is really holding you back, which is often half the battle once you get to that last three tenths.

“It’s a lot different. I feel like we’re kind of in the game now. Obviously, David ran from about fifth to 10th all weekend, so we’ve definitely taken a big step up and I think we can take another step next weekend.

“If we can fine-tune a few things, I think it’s starting to become a bit clearer where we need to find that speed, which is good.”

By the close of play in the first of two events in Townsville, the 26-year-old said he was buoyed by the feeling in his car.

That’s got him eager to get back on track for the second leg of the double-header this weekend.

“There was a fairly noticeable difference on the car, I noticed straight away. That was really good,” said Heimgartner of his #7 Mustang on Sunday.

“I managed to have decent tyre degradation but again we still need to find a bit of speed. It made sense, which is good. I think it’s going to give a really good direction going forward.

“I could feel when I was adjusting the bars, I could feel when I was doing stuff when I was out there that was making a difference.

“That’s a big, big positive over the car I had the previous couple of days.”

The WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint takes place across July 17-18.

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