DJR Team Penske shows plenty of fight to grab 8th place at the Gold Coast 600

October 24, 2015

SURFERS PARADISE, QLD, 24 OCTOBER 2015: DJR Team Penske have scored a fine Top 10 place today in the first race of the Gold Coast 600. Scott Pye and Marcos Ambrose teamed to bring the Xbox Falcon from a 15th Qualifying position to an 8th place finish after 102 laps of racing.
With every co-driver in the field facing the starter, Marcos Ambrose was at the wheel of the No 17 Xbox Falcon FG X for the beginning of the 102 lap journey. A cautious start by the whole field avoided some of the first lap incidents that have been so prevalent at the Gold Coast track. Marcos dropped two spots on Lap 1, but was soon back into P15 and pressed on very well for his 34 lap stint. He passed old team mate Russell Ingall on Lap 25 to move into P14, the position he pitted from on Lap 34.

Handing over to Scott Pye, the DJR Team Penske pit crew enjoyed a smooth stop and when all the field had completed their first round of stops, Scott had the Xbox Falcon sitting back in P14. His run on the new Hard Dunlop tyre was outstanding and he was almost as fast as a number of cars who had elected to go to the Soft tyre early.

The tyre strategy was really now in play as a mix of hard and soft runners were on track and many would elect to run the soft tyre all the way to the end of the race. Scott continued to lay down great lap times and took his second stop for softs on Lap 61. Once again his Lap times were impressive and the field was starting to come back to those on the fresher rubber.

A Safety Car on Lap 85 bunched the field and Pye worked his way around some incidents to break into the Top 10 on Lap 88. The run home saw Scott push the Xbox Falcon hard and stage a great battle with Rick Kelly on the last lap, displacing the Nissan to 9th. A fine race by both DJR Team Penske drivers was rewarded with an 8th place. Scott’s pace was impressive and he reported feeling in good shape at the end of the race.

Scott Pye – No 17 Xbox Falcon FG X
“I am really pleased to come away with a Top 10 today. We were a bit off the mark in Qualifying and started mid pack. Marcos drove well and I jumped in at the first stop. The pace on the hard tyre was great and we were able to claw our way up by keeping our soft tyre for the last stint.

“The Safety Car helped us a bit, but I felt we had the car to keep pressing on. I closed in on Rick (Kelly) in the closing laps and we had a huge dice out of Turn 4 and all the way along the beachfront. I got him up at Turn 11 on the last Lap. So eighth place was a really good reward.

“I feel pretty good after nearly 70 laps, so it is now a focus on a better Qualifying result tomorrow and getting the Xbox Falcon closer to the front. I think we have a really good race pace as today proved.”

Marcos Ambrose – No 17 Xbox Falcon FG X
“The start was OK, but I was a little cautious and dropped a few positions. From then on it was a matter of recovering some spots and getting the Xbox Falcon into the best position for Scott to jump in. I was in pretty good shape as the stint wore on and the car was getting quicker. I think I was in P14 at the Pit Stop and we were careful to ensure a good clean driver change for Scott. He did a great job and getting well inside the Top 10 is a fine result for the DJR Team Penske crew.”