Mother Nature wins the GC600 as Jacobson and Kelly were on the forward charge
Garry Jacobson and Rick Kelly’s run in the Castrol Nissan at today’s second Vodafone Gold Coast 600 race was cut cruelly short by major storm cells that hit South East Queensland, bringing an early end to play forcing organisers to declare the race as a non-race, just as the strategy they deployed was starting to come to them.
The duo qualified well down the order in fine conditions before the ominous storm clouds began to form in the leadup to the 102 lap race.
Setting the Castrol Nissan Altima into a wet setup ahead of the impending deluge, Jacobson performed his rain dance before hopping into the car to start the race.
The Shepparton racer was in middle of the rough and tumble of the first few laps before the race began to play out just as the skies darkened above.
The Nissan Motorsport team brought Jacobson in as one of the first cars to switch to wet Dunlop tyres which proved crucial as the wet saw an inevitable Safety Car for a multi car incident. The remainder of the field pitted then – which rocketed the Castrol Nissan up eight spots to 10th position.
Once the key 34 lap minimum for co-drivers hit a few laps later, most teams elected to swap their co-drivers out, however Nissan – recognising Jacobson’s wet weather prowess – left him in the car which moved him to second. Soon after the first red flag was triggered.
To ensure they met the race regulations should the race go on, the team pitted once the cars started circulating once again behind the Safety Car to place Kelly into the car.
Soon after though, an even heavier thunderstorm struck Surfers Paradise forcing officials to end the race.
This meant no points were allocated for today’s event.
The non-race also brought an end to 2018’s edition of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup. Kelly and Jacobson finished 10th overall and the best of the Nissan Motorsport runners.
Jacobson’s focus now switches to the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 on November 23-25, where he will be taking part in his 100th Dunlop Super2 Series race on Sunday. The 26-year-old will be pushing for his second Dunlop Super2 Series Championship in the MEGA Fuels MW Motorsport Nissan Altima and also has the chance to wrap up the Pole Award for 2018 as well.
“SURF” BOARD – GARRY JACOBSON:
“We dialled in a wet setup, so it wasn’t helping us in the dry at the start – we were surviving though, I was able to keep up with the field – there was plenty of jostling going on right from the front all the way through. I started smiling when it began to rain, but nobody knew it was going to come as hard as it did.
“The the Castrol Nissan really came alive when we got the wet Dunlop tyres on it – I started catching cars and was yelling with joy inside the helmet!
“The Nissan Motorsport team really called the strategy right and we were on the move and right there when everyone else stopped to change co-drivers.
“I must say working with Nissan in just my second ever PIRTEK Enduro Cup has been nothing short of a great honour.
“I can’t say enough for working alongside Rick, he is a great guy and a great driver.
“I really appreciate Todd Kelly (owner) and Nick Ryan (Commercial Manager) and all the team for giving me the opportunity to be racing alongside someone as great as Rick.
“Pairing up with him as a Champion of the sport, a Bathurst Champion and a race winner in the Castrol Nissan this year, I saw it as a great opportunity to learn, thrive and push myself and be a better driver. One thing I really learnt from being part of the team was more of the corporate side of things – Nissan do so much for their sponsors behind the scenes that even I didn’t realise.
“The opportunity was a very positive thing for me at such a young stage of my career.
“Hopefully we can see what is going to happen for the next phase of my career in the not too distant future.
“In the meantime the focus will be on Newcastle and getting back behind the wheel of the MEGA Fuels Nissan and my 100th Dunlop Super2 race where we also have the chance of taking the Championship and the Pole Award for the year.
“I also can’t heap enough praise on all of my personal supporters from throughout the year – MEGA Fuels, RABBLE.club, Exedy, Challenger Valves and Actuators, McQuinn Electrical and MGA Insurance Brokers – along with those who came aboard as part of our PIRTEK Enduro Cup campaign this year – Shepparton Motor Museum, Greater Shepparton City Council, along with Challenger Valves, MGA Insurance, FIX Muscle Performance, Foot Waste, Thompson Motors and Varapodio Orchards, and of course Castrol and the Nissan Motorsport sponsors.
“It’s now eyes forward to Newcastle and getting everything ready for that, we’ll be leaving nothing on the table!”
FURTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION: