14.6 C
Mount Panorama
Saturday, May 25, 2024


PUKEKOHE is where Andre Heimgartner’s love affair with Supercars began but it’s been far from kind to him since he made the grade.

In 11 Repco Supercars Championship starts at Pukekohe, the New Zealander has only twice finished better than 18th (a pair of eighths are his best).

Supercars’ final visit to the North Island venue has started in more promising fashion for the Brad Jones Racing ace, who was third quickest in Friday practice despite not maximising his fast lap.

That put him ahead of Shane van Gisbergen as the lead Kiwi, behind only the Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs of Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison.

“I grew up just sitting out there on the grandstand watching like Greg Murphy, (Mark) Skaife, all those guys,” Heimgartner said at the close of play yesterday.

“So for me, there’s a strong link with this place. It’s where I learned to drive manual for the first time and got my first hot lap with my Dad in his Commodore when I was very young.

“It’s sort of where I fell in love with Supercars and got the dream of being in Supercars.

“To come full circle… I remember Greg Murphy jumping on top of the car and all that sort of stuff back in the day, and that was just so special being a Kiwi, so hopefully I can at least get on the podium this weekend and complete that.”

Possible rain might help his cause – Heimgartner’s sole main game win came in the wet at Tailem Bend last year – but a farewell podium is realistic even if it stays dry.

MORE: Davison surprised to dodge enemy treatment

MORE: Pukekohe confirmed for iRacing immortalisation

“(Pukekohe) hasn’t been too good to me in the past so we’ll just wait and see,” said the 27-year-old, who has third-place finishes this season at Perth and Winton.

“I don’t know, throughout this year we have obviously got podiums and potentially wins if certain things went certain ways but we just haven’t been able to keep up obviously with those (DJR) guys or Shane.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on the race pace and I think we made some good gains at Sandown… this weekend if we can qualify alright, we have the tools to make hopefully a good race car and you never know what could happen.

“But you can never predict what you’re going to do because everyone is trying so hard, especially at the front, and it’s never easy.”

Final practice starts on Saturday morning at 9:35am AEST/11:35am NZST.

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.

Latest News

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.