Brendon Pingel on point at Phillip Island with an impressive podium 2nd in the penultimate Aussie Racing Cars 2015 Rd 6. He extended his championship lead by a further 7 points to now have a 36 point gap between himself and 2nd placed Stevenson.
Brendon was 5th fastest in wet practice and just as qualifying started the isolator switch failed and the team quickly went to work to get him out into qualifying in absolutely drenching rain conditions. One lap down and the session was red flagged. Brendon showed early pace as he topped the leader board, however with only a few minutes remaining at the restart of the session, the rain intensified and Brendon managed a difficult and somewhat frustrating 9th grid position.
Fine weather for Saturday’s race one, Brendon started from 9th and quickly moved up into the fray with the top 6 cars. What a great battle between the top 6 who continually swapped places for the lead. By the chequered flag Brendon had secured 3rd place only .04 hundredths of a second in lap time speed behind the winner.
Brendon started from grid 3 in race 2 and what a race followed. By lap 4 he had moved into second spot with a brave pass through the very fast turn one and was zeroing on the race leader when he was slip streamed and passed by two cars and then hit heavily by an over driving Uebergang spinning Brendon infield. He recovered very quickly into 7th place and made his way back through a couple of cars. On the second last lap Brendon was hit heavily by Scibberas severely damaging the rear bodywork which as a result dropped him down the field another 4 places. He crossed the line in 11th however Uebergang received a 38 second penalty and Scibberas a six grid place penalty elevating Brendon to 9th. The silver lining, Brendon would now start on the front row of the grid for the reverse top 10 grid race on Sunday morning.
With a lightning start from the front row Brendon lead the field away and what an absolute nailbiting race followed. Nothing separated the top 6 cars as they battled setting almost identical lap times in a spectacular race in which it was impossible to predict the winner. The lead changed so frequently that commentators were unable to keep up with the action. Brendon wisely made the decision on several occasions to back out of potential corner crashes to preserve his championship. At the chequered flag the top 5 drivers were only separated by hundreds of a second, sending the commentators into a frenzy. Brendon finished in 4th position. After race 3 the team made some significant setup changes to the car.
On accumulated points Brendon started from grid position five in the final double point’s race. With another copybook start Brendon wasted no time going on the attack for the lead with 4 cars side by side into turn one. By the end of lap one he was in 2nd place and then relegated to 6th coming up into Lukey Heights where 4 of the lead cars then made contact, allowing Brendon back through into 2nd place on lap 3. Now some 4 seconds behind the leader, Brendon laid down the challenge closing in at almost a second a lap faster than the leader McCorkindale. Lap after lap Brendon set fastest sector times and fastest lap times to be the only driver in the 1 minute 47 second bracket. By the final lap, he was only .5 of a second behind however time ran out and he finished a storming 2nd. This result was enough to elevate him to a podium 2nd for the round. He extended his championship lead by another 7 points to be now leading by 36 points with one round to go at Homebush in Sydney.
“Well as always Phillip Island proved to be another ever exciting round. A big thanks to two new local sponsers – Autopro Gatton and Haines Constructions for coming onboard for the final two rounds. We struggled a little at the start with car setup but still remained very competitive. Being at the top of the points ladder always makes you a target and I really felt that in race two. I know none of the incidents were intentional but it was like it was take out the leader day. Just made us more determined to keep focused and fight harder to keep our position at the top of the points ladder. Finally got the car perfect with some changes to our set up in the last race and I think it really showed. Can’t wait to battle it out in the final round at Homebush in a couple days. Bring It On!!