How Ingall’s times stacked up against Feeney at QR

Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney at Queensland Raceway. Picture: Simon Chapman

Supercars veteran Russell Ingall has revealed he surprised even himself with how competitive he’s been in the Supercheap Auto ZB Commodore relative to Broc Feeney.

After twice being delayed due to COVID-19, the duo were finally able to hit the track at Queensland Raceway today for their first Triple Eight Race Engineering wildcard test.

The outing was hailed a success, even if some mileage was lost during the middle part of the day due to a power steering issue.

For Ingall, it offered the latest piece of reassurance that he’ll be good to go for his Repco Bathurst 1000 comeback this year at the age of 57.

As it turned out, he was able to run closer than expected to Super2 Series-leading co-driver Feeney on a track that saw sub-69-second times when the Supercars Championship last raced at QR two years ago.

“I suppose I would have been happy if I was within a second of Broc,” Ingall told Speedcafe.com.

“I would have been happy with that at the start of the day but it’s less than half of that, so it’s going alright.

“I’m absolutely happy with that, I can’t ask for anything more.”

In any case, Ingall isn’t overly concerned with outright speed, with race runs already his focus.

The #39 ZB Commodore in action. Picture: Simon Chapman

“It has surprised the last few years how much emphasis people have put on qualifying [at the Bathurst 1000],” he said.

“It doesn’t seem to me to be the smart way to go about it.

“That’s one thing Larry [Perkins] always taught me was race runs, get the car comfortable, fast, easy to drive and then qualifying was never thought about until qualifying… if we’re up there, we’re up there, it doesn’t matter, we know we have got a good race car.

“Lo and behold, that’s a pretty good theory and I think it still holds credit.”

Having cut laps at a ride day last month, today’s test marked the first opportunity for Ingall to make tweaks to the #39 – although that wasn’t exactly high on his agenda.

“Roland made it very clear right from the word go, ‘get in and drive’,” he said.

“He said, ‘don’t start engineering the car, we have got a pretty good idea of what we’re doing’ and that’s exactly the way I want to approach it because I have done very few laps in this model of car and you can’t go in thinking you’re ready to be an expert either.

“I mean if it comes down to it, there’s finetuning, you can have some input but really, from what I have experienced so far, the car is so nice to drive.

“I think there would be more time in me than there would be in messing around with the car.”

The 2005 Supercars champion also got his first chance to execute a practice start in anticipation for what may come on race day at Mount Panorama, given the tendency for teams to start the 161-lapper with their co-drivers at the wheel.

“Their procedures are a bit different than what I remember but I have always been a very good starter, mainly because I was a really terrible qualifier so I had to be a good starter,” said Ingall.

“But we’ll have another couple of goes over the next couple of test days and get it right, just in case I do start it.”

Ingall, Feeney and the #39 crew are likely to have another two test days before the Bathurst 1000, which is slated to run across November 4-7.

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