Heimgartner ‘couldn’t have hoped for much more’ out of Sandown 500
Wednesday 20th September, 2023 - 1:38pm
Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner says he “couldn’t have hoped for much more” from the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 after a comeback finish of fifth.
The #8 R&J Batteries Camaro flew under the radar as Heimgartner and co-driver Dale Wood combined to gain a full 10 positions over the course of 158 laps at Sandown International Motor Raceway.
The recovery from the eighth row of the grid was all the more significant given the New Zealander gained a full two positions in the drivers’ championship, overtaking Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters.
“Yeah, interesting race, I was pleasantly surprised with our pace and we were able to chip away,” said Heimgartner.
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“The team did some great pit stops, which was awesome as well.
“So, really pleased overall. I think, considering where we started, we couldn’t have hoped for much more than that.”
Heimgartner had emerged fifth after the final pit stop cycle, although he still had his work cut out for him as he and fellow Kiwi Matt Payne lit up the timing screen in the closing stages.
Wood, who had starting duties in the #8 BJR car, remarked, “That’s a pretty good day out really from starting 15th.
“For me, it was one of the most different races I’ve ever done in the way you have to drive the car and preserve the tyres, and don’t get caught up in racing early, knowing that you’ll reap the benefits later on.
“So, it was very interesting for me.
“I felt like we had a really good car and, like I say, to finish the day up in fifth and behind those two teams [Triple Eight Race Engineering, Erebus Motorsport] was a pretty bloody good result.
“So yeah, definitely happy with that.”
Of the other BJR entries, Bryce Fullwood/Dean Fiore finished 14th from 25th on the grid, Jack Smith/Jaxon Evans finished 18th from 22nd, and Macauley Jones/Jordan Boys finished 19th from 24th.
Fullwood sits 10th in the championship ahead of the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.