Strong showing from DJR Team Penske is not rewarded at Gold Coast 600

October 25, 2015

SURFERS PARADISE, QLD, 25 OCTOBER 2015: The Xbox Falcon of Scott Pye and Marcos Ambrose has again shown great speed on the streets of Surfers Paradise, but not delivered the result the team had been shooting for.   

The day began well with Scott Pye Qualifying in a strong 6th place to give the team a third row starting position. As was the case in the first 300km race on Saturday, all the cars had the co drivers at the wheel when the lights went green.

Marcos Ambrose was away well and held onto 6th place, keeping the leaders well in sight and holding Luff (HRT) and Canto (Ford) at bay. His lap times were good showing the former V8 Supercars Champion was holding his own in the quality field. By lap 24, Marcos was in a big battle with Warren Luff (Tander HRT). The front running cars were now all getting nearer to the 34 lap window for the first stop and Ambrose was determined to hand the car over to Scott without losing a place. Marcos finally pitted on Lap 36.

Scott Pye was into the car on new ‘hard’ tyres repeating the same tyre strategy the team had used on Saturday. There were a lot of different strategies playing out up and down the Pit Lane at the first stops as some teams short filled their cars and others went for a bigger fuel load. Once all the first round pit stops had been completed, Pye was back to P13, but carrying a full fuel load.

With only a handful of laps left before his second stop, a Safety Car was called. A double stack with Tekno was facing Scott, but Van Gisbergen cleared the lane before the Xbox Ford arrived. The Wood Commodore from the adjoining pit came in quickly, hitting the tyres which had just come off the No 17 Falcon delaying the stop and wiping out any advantage the team had. To make matters worse, a Pit Lane Penalty for an unsafe release on Lap 60 saw the Xbox Falcon tumble to the rear of the field and put the team behind the eight ball.

With the mid race Safety Car, all cars that had pitted would not make it home on fuel and a third round of pit stops began with around 35 laps to run. Scott stayed out and climbed back up the order but the team would need a late race stop to ensure he had fuel. The intervention of a late race Safety Car would have got Pye to the flag, however it did not eventuate.
With 10 laps to go, the team radioed Scott to say that they he would be 6 laps shy of the chequered flag, and the call was made to the Xbox Falcon driver to head to the pits on Lap 97. With no chance of clawing back positions, Scott circulated towards the rear of the field finally finishing in 21st position.

Scott Pye – No 17 Xbox Falcon FG X
“The day started well with Qualifying resulting in a P6 starting position for the Xbox Falcon. It made up for yesterday and gave Marcos a great spot to start the race. He did another good job and we pitted from P6. We took on a lot of fuel at the stop with a view to a shorter stop when we changed to the softs later on.

“But it did not work out for us. The boys made a mistake in the pits with a dangerous release, and then we got a drive through penalty.

“The race was a lot tougher than yesterday and it makes it a lot worse when you are not fighting for position. In the end you are just cruising around trying to get to the finish.

“Once again we have shown that the DJR Team Penske Falcon is on the pace, but we just have to convert that to results.”  
Marcos Ambrose – No 17 Xbox Falcon FG X
“Scott did a great job to get us into P6 for the start. I held on OK, but lost touch a little with those top five runners. The car was pretty strong and I was able to hold out Luff and ensure we pitted from a good position.

“The day did not pan out of course as Scott ended up with a pit lane drive through, and that really ended our day. We were short on fuel and had to make the extra stop.

“I have enjoyed the Pirtek Endurance races and it has been great to see how far the team and the car has come since I stepped back. I think next year is looking good for DJR Team Penske.”