The sun was out for the third and final race of Round 2 of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Development Series at Barbagallo today, but unfortunately it did not shine on the Greg Murphy Racing team, whose tough weekend continued.
The #45 GB Galvanising/Wilson Security car of Dale Wood unfortunately did not make the start after sustaining extensive damage to the left front following a start line incident with Andrew Jones in yesterday's second race.
"We could have rushed around and fixed it overnight, but there was no way to test the car before Race 3," Greg Murphy Racing managing director Kevin Murphy said. "It's just too risky to fix a broken race car only to cause more damage because it was rushed. Dale's sponsors are naturally disappointed, but supportive of our decision to keep the car out of any more trouble.
"Dale was showing great promise over the course of the weekend, and this incident is just the culmination of a great deal of bad luck. We'll straighten the car out back in the workshop and get some testing done before Townsville in July."
The remaining Greg Murphy Racing cars were ready to go for the final race of the weekend with different track conditions once again. Grid positions were set using combined results from the first two races, so Marcus Zukanovic started from 10th, Geoff Emery from 14th and Matt Hansen from 21st.
Marcus Zukanovic found pace early in his R & J Batteries Commodore and moved up from 10th to 7th before pressuring Nick Percat for 6th position. Marcus executed a move coming down the hill into Turn 7 but then things went very wrong for both drivers, as Zukanovic explained:
"From my seat, I made a move on Nick on the first lap and got past, I've come up the other side, and gone down into Turn 7 and he's made a move back on me, and I believe I've given him plenty of room because I was all the way on the outside.
"I don't think I was doing anything wrong, and I was up on the kerb, and next thing there was this whack in my right rear and I was headed toward the pitlane fence. I wasn't sure what took place, I know Nick was on the inside of me, but whether he hit me or I got nudged by (Rodney) Jane I don't know, because Jane was behind me when I made the move on Nick."
Zukanovic was able to rejoin the race in 19th place.
The safety car led the field around for several laps while the recovery teams worked to remove Percat's car, and when the race restarted the Greg Murphy Racing cars all started to make their move.
Zukanovic managed to recover to a 15th-place finish behind team mate Geoff Emery. Matt Hansen also found some pace and moved up to 17th by the chequered flag in the Forpark Australia / Bossen / Australian Custom Moulders entry.
"Without that first safety car, and maybe a later safety car we probably would have moved up a few more spots, because the car definitely came to us in that final race, it was good!" Hansen remarked.
"I had a great time this weekend actually. I took a little while to get used to it, and obviously made a few changes in the set up of the car as well, but other than that we were pretty comfortable."
Geoff Emery's final race was a testing one; after several laps behind the safety car he battled to keep his spot in the tight pack to finish 14th. Nevertheless, the Earthex / Wurth / NDD VE Commodore is straight and finished all three of the weekend's races.
Marcus Zukanovic summed up the weekend.
"Perth has been an okay weekend, I wouldn't say it was brilliant, and I wouldn't say it was a total loss, we finished all three races which is definitely a positive," he said. "I'm learning more and more about the car, so come Townsville, which was a track I was very strong at last year, I'm hoping that with the stuff we've now learnt about the car, we can put Barbagallo behind us and keep moving the freight train forward."
The Greg Murphy Racing team is back racing again in the Dunlop V8 Supercars Series on July 6 at the Reid Park Circuit in Townsville.
Round Results Summary - Dunlop V8 Supercar Development Series Round 2, Barbagallo
Qualifying: Wood 8th, Emery 13th, Zukanovic 15th, Hansen 20th
Race 1: Zukanovic 14th, Wood 17th, Emery 19th, Hansen 21st
Race 2: Zukanovic 10th, Emery 13th, Hansen DNF, Wood DNF*
Race 3: Emery 14th, Zukanovic 15th, Hansen 17th, Wood DNS
*NOTE: Marcus Zukanovic and Geoff Emery were both elevated a position in the Race 2 classification due to the exclusion of another competitor.
Dunlop V8 Supercar Development Series Pointscore (after Round 2 of 7)
1. Chaz Mostert – 543
2. Scott McLaughlin – 538
3. Scott Pye - 471
4. Luke Youlden - 459
5. Ashley Walsh - 431
6. Nick Percat - 399
7. Rodney Jane - 321
8. Tim Blanchard - 317
9. David Russell - 286
10. Marcus Zukanovic - 284
(13. Geoff Emery - 262)
(19. Dale Wood - 175)
(25. Matt Hansen - 51)