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Gaunt Second In V8 Supercar Race

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Sunday 12 July: New Zealand's Daniel Gaunt finished second in Sunday's final Fujitsu V8 Supercar race, driving the VnC Cocktails/Mad Butcher Ford BF Falcon at the Townsville 400 in northern Queensland.

24-year-old Gaunt's best result from the three V8 Supercar development series events he has contested, was bitter-sweet for the McElrea Racing team. Finishing all three races at the newly developed 2.9 kilometre circuit, cumulative points placed Gaunt just four points outside the weekend podium.

In the top group during early practise, Gaunt and the McElrea Racing team were disappointed when their second row qualifying time was pipped late in the session. Starting from fifth for the Saturday opening race, Gaunt finished fourth.

"We were gaining on the leaders but the left front tyre got cut on one of the curbs - so that stopped us making further in-roads," said team owner and ex-pat Kiwi Andy McElrea.

However it was the second race, held on Sunday morning, that riles McElrea. Due to the reverse top-ten start grid, Gaunt started sixth, ahead of the earlier pace-setters - until he was hit and spun on the fourth lap.

"We were running third - and a win was a realistic possibility for us in that race. We were quietly confident that Dan was going to take care of the two slower guys in front and then he got spun around," continued McElrea.

"The car got pretty badly damaged to be honest - and is going to need a whole new side before Sandown to fix it properly."

Gaunt managed a climb to ninth by the end of the 14-lap race, describing the incident to the left-side of the car: "We were in to our second lap, the last corner coming on to the front straight - I just got turned around, drilled by two cars and had to join the end of the train - dead last," he said.

Starting from fifth for the final race, the team did a fantastic job to get the car's suspension aligned after the earlier accident. "So it was far from perfect. With a bent differential housing, we had to adjust the radius rods to straighten the rear wheel alignment," said McElrea.

"It was a storming drive - in that last race"

For Gaunt, it was certainty in the car after the earlier incident that allowed him to turn his earlier gains in to a result: "I have complete and utter confidence in the team and what the engineers are doing. When they told me the car was right and square for the last race I could trust them. Having lost a tyre from our first race we only had three good ones left and if it hadn't been for the second race we would have definitely been on the podium for the weekend," added Gaunt.

A new circuit for the V8 Supercar series, Gaunt said it was well received by the drivers: "It was a hit first-time event and the weather helped - fine and high-20's, even though it is winter."

Currently seventh in the drivers' championship, the team has a precious two weeks to have the car repaired in time for the Sandown challenge in Melbourne at the end of the month (31 July - 2 August).

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