Tyre compounds to dictate Townsville race tempo

The super soft (blue) and hard (yellow) compound tyres. Picture: Ross Gibb

Drivers expect the tempo of the NTI Townsville 500 races to be dictated heavily by the super soft and hard tyre compounds.

This year’s North Queensland round of the Supercars Championship sees two very different tyre compounds being run as opposed to what has usually been just the in-between soft variation.

Friday’s running featured a pair of 30-minute practice sessions, with an abundance of set-up changes going on as teams adjusted back to the hard compound.

While they aren’t permitted to run the super softs until the race, it offered an insight into how the hard compound might perform in race conditions.

Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters, who was second-quickest for the day, believed there is a pretty clear picture.

“I don’t think you’ll see a lot of passing on the hard tyre,” Waters said in the end-of-day press conference.

“It’s pretty sketchy in all the brake zones so to ask a little more from it, it’s not going to give it to you.

“Is what it is, but I think when we put the super softs on that’s when the race will come alive. Hopefully my car is good on its tyres, that’s key.”

Shane van Gisbergen agreed with Waters, and believes the tempo of the race will only pick up once the first teams pull the trigger and stop for the super softs.

“Yeah Cam summed it up, it’s going to be pretty boring until everyone puts the soft on at the end,” the championship leader concurred.

“It’s whoever is brave enough to put it on early and try and make it last.”

Practice 2 fast-man Andre Heimgartner doesn’t expect much action in the way of passing on the hard compound, aside from errors.

“I don’t think you’ll be putting any moves on, it will be [from] making people make mistakes as the tyre deg hits its cliffs,” the Brad Jones Racing driver said of any potential positional changes.

“You’ll probably see people locking rears a bit more and stuff like that. Probably more mistakes maybe.”

Qualifying for Race 19 begins at 09:50 local time/AEST on Saturday, followed by a Top 10 Shootout later in the day to finalise the grid.

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