Adam Sharpe Down Under
Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series – R2 Wakefield Park

Adam Sharpe reports on the second round of the Fujitsu Series, held on the last weekend of May.

We carried out testing during the week commencing Monday May 15, before the race over the weekend of May 27-28, in line with the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series regulations. This was my first time at Wakefield Park, and I used the track time to learn the circuit and to identify the racing line. During the test, the team worked mostly towards a setup for the race weekend, as the car was running soundly. I was battling a little with understeer, but with some careful minor adjustments the team managed to dial some out by the end of the day. There were four other Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series cars running that day and I was running fastest on year old rubber - by half a second. The team was very happy with the way the day’s testing had gone.

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The car was taken back to Richmond (NW of Sydney) where the team planned a full check on the car prior to the race weekend - and sorted out some changes to the seating position, as it was incorrectly placed for my complete driving comfort.

I spent some time relaxing and following up on some business in Queensland’s Gold Coast, before returning to Goulburn on Wednesday May 24, prior to preparations for the race weekend ahead.

The race weekend started on Thursday, with the team arriving in Goulborn very early, in order to have the car on show on the main street in the city. This saw many school kids and the general public looking around the cars and talking to the teams. I was then invited to give a TV interview for Canberra News, to promote the weekend’s racing event. The Mayor of Goulburn came to meet the teams and talk about the race meeting, one of the biggest events to hit Goulburn each year.

The car was then taken to the circuit to undergo setup for the weekend. I was then invited to give my second interview of the weekend, for Eagle FM radio this time, with another Fujitsu driver, Tim Monte. The radio DJ ran through a road licence quiz, which saw me win with 0 points, with Tim on -1 points (negative marking): all in good spirits - a bit of a comedy act.

On Friday, the team went to the circuit to check the car’s setup following the work done on Thursday and, after final adjustments, the car and team were ready and raring to go.

On Saturday, the first test session went very well and the new setup worked to great effect. I was putting in times that were assuring me of a spot in the top 20. The second test session went even better still, with my car sitting 11th out of a total of 37 cars on the time sheets. I was in the third best placed Ford Falcon AU on the grid, with the drivers of the two more advanced AUs having at least two years more experience in V8 Supercars. I had made it into the top 50% of the field and had given myself a very good position ahead of the qualifying session. Qualifying went well with an initial position in the top 15 on the grid. The team then pitted the car to check tyre pressures. Unfortunately, the decision taken on tyre pressures did not produce a quicker time. We were all frustrated, but I did claim 19th position on the grid.

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Sunday
Race 1
– Having started 19th, I made inroads into the field and forced my way up to 15th within the first lap. I then picked off two more cars, reaching 13th, a position, which I held to the chequered flag. A couple of safety car laps followed a number of cars spinning off and various teams experiencing mechanical problems.

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Race 2 (reverse grid) – With the 13th place finish in Race 1, I started 22nd on the grid and made light work of moving five places through the field to 17th - until a huge hit from behind sent my ASM Falcon into a spin, and put me to the rear of the pack. A quick pit stop to remove the bumper followed. However, too much time was wasted and I finished last runner, but still putting in times to compete with the leaders.

Race 3 – With the grid decided on total points scored across Races 1 and 2, I was 18th on the grid. Again I made immediate and fast progress through the field to 13th, in just a few laps, with eyes on picking off more cars and gaining more places. The car had good pace, but an unfortunate breakage in one of the bonnet pins saw the bonnet start to rise up in high speed areas. Since a loose bonnet was dangerous both for myself and other competitors, we were forced to pit the Falcon to repair the problem. This resulted in the loss of many places and it was unfortunate because the pace we were setting would have seen a first top ten finish for sure.

ASM was very proud to be sponsored by newly launched VelocityPay.com.au, Australian subsidiary of ASM’s major UK/European partner, Internet Payment Processor, VelocityPay.co.uk.

Finally, many thanks must go to the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) crash repair team for fixing the car after the collision in Race 2, and for all the sign writing, following the damage to various decals.
Adam Sharpe

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