KGR team-mates relish Sydney qualifying gains

Luke Youlden

Andre Heimgartner and Luke Youlden were all smiles after a solid bag of results in two sodden qualifying sessions at the Armor All Sydney SuperNight.

Heimgartner led the team’s efforts with eighth and fifth for Race 24 and Race 25 respectively, although Youlden’s efforts were particularly noteworthy on what is his solo Supercars debut.

The #26 Ford Mustang pilot, who this weekend is filling in for the benched David Reynolds, qualified 11th and 12th for the afternoon’s two 32-lap affairs.

“I never would have dreamed I’d be around the [top] 10, I was just hoping for the 20, to be honest,” Youlden said.

“Obviously the cars are great and I’ve got a good guy to follow out of pit lane so that helped a little bit. I just can’t believe it, it’s awesome.

“All we need is a bit of rain in the dark tonight.”

It marked a significant day-on-day turnaround for Kelly Grove Racing at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Youlden led the team’s efforts on Saturday, qualifying 21st for Race 24 while Heimgartner was only 24th.

Heimgartner would go on to suffer a steering failure after mid-race contact while Youlden wound up 24th.

Like Youlden, Heimgartner was surprised by the 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner’s qualifying performance come Sunday.

“Towards the end of that [session I] caught some traffic so I had to let a few people go and probably lost a little bit of the tyre heat that I needed,” said the #7 Ford Mustang driver.

“Awesome job by Luke. He was behind me the whole time and he wasn’t disappearing, so I was like, ‘Holy shit, he’s onto me here! I better get my stuff together’.

“Awesome to have both cars competitive. They’re comfortable, they’re not quite fast enough in the wet to be challenging the guys in the front, but at least to get up to that point they’re actually comfortable, they’re not trying to throw us off the road. Very, very positive.”

Race 24 gets underway at 16:35 local time/AEDT.

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