Adam Sharpe Down Under
Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series – Oran Park

August 19-20 and it’s Oran Park, for the next round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercars.

During the early stages of practice one I realised that the Falcon’s setup was far from perfect. As I learned the highly technical Oran Park circuit, I started to make small changes with the sway bar settings within the car’s cockpit – these helped somewhat but more extensive changes were needed. In the break, the ASM crew changed the spring rates and toe in order to attempt to dial the car in better, to progress up the grid order. This proved to work as I knocked two seconds off my previous times within the first few laps. Again the rest of the 30 minutes was primarily spent learning the circuit ready for the qualifying on Saturday.

Still not satisfied with the setup and particularly the brake bias, the team set about making more changes for qualifying. The engine was also re-mapped to enable better drive out of the third gear corners – where it seemed the others had an edge over the Falcon.

Qualifying started with the brake bias set up and getting a good balance for the race duration to come. We managed to set a 1.12.01 lap time to put us 33rd on the grid. This is the worst qualifying result so far this season for us but we have spent a lot of time working on setup for this circuit.

So we had it all to do in race one where I was to start on a slope and blind to the starting lights – so on the call of Darrel Dixon (team manager) I was to drop the clutch and start racing. This seemed to work well as I gained a couple of places into the first corner and shortly found himself a good five places up the field. After a few more battles and a good set of consistent lap times I took the chequered flag lap in 17th position. Not a bad start to the three races. I had some great tussles and managed to overtake quite a few cars, and I was more than happy with the Falcon’s setup.

Race 2 was to be started from reverse grid and I started the ASM Falcon 11th. This was to be another good race with some close bumper to bumper action. I put in consistent lap after consistent lap and ever improving times – a 1.11.8 lap time was my best of the race. I finished 11th after a tough battle with Price and McGill during the closing laps.

The results from the previous two races would give me my starting position for race three. A furious start saw me come out of the first corner with a damaged rim, after an unsighted driver drove into the side of the Falcon. More contact was to come, as numerous hits to the rear bumper and quarter panels were inflicted on the Falcon by ‘red mist’ struck drivers behind. The left hand front and rear doors also got a thumping, as I was sent sideways around turn 3 - but managed to recover but in doing so still lost a place to the driver involved. As a direct result of the damage caused, I slipped from 18th to 20th, where I remained until the end.


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