South Australian offroad racer Greg Gartner rolled on to the Clipsal 500 starting grid for the first time on the weekend in the seat of the #500 R&J Batteries Stadium Super Truck. Returning to Stadium Super Truck drivers seat since the spectacular roll in Sydney, Gartner couldn’t wait to unleash the 600hp truck on the Adelaide street circuit and get down to business.
“We’ve been coming since the V8’s came to Adelaide and it was fantastic to be given the opportunity to unleash one of these beasts on the street. Clipsal’s just four hours from home and it was exciting to have our friends, family and sponsors as part of the huge Clipsal crowd. While it looks like pure entertainment from the grandstand, I can tell you it is properly competitive once the helmet is on and the green flag drops.” Said Greg
The #500 Stadium Super Truck is sporting fresh new livery for 2016, with Ballarat’s R&J Batteries signing on as the major sponsor with Fuchs Oils, Toyo Tires Australia and Clipsal 500 joining them on the striking white, black and red wrap.
The Stadium Super Trucks hit the 14 turn Clipsal 500 street circuit for the first time in anger on Friday afternoon. Qualifying ninth on Thursday, the reverse grid saw Greg Gartner start in P4 in for the short and sweet eight lap race the #500 R&J Batteries SST.
“I had a good start and got into the rhythm of it quickly. I got in to turn nine and had a bit of a touch on the rear of the truck from someone behind, spun and lost 8 or 9 positions. I started to chase the field back and caught back up by the competition yellow.”
The carnage started to unfold on the restart, with Toby Price clipping the wall and the drivers having to thread their way through the new man made chicane. Gartner battled with another South Aussie driver, Travis Milburn before a massive flat spin off a jump opened the door for Gartner to move into 6th when the chequered flag dropped on race 1.
The carnage escalated during Race two on Saturday with Matt Mingay having a huge roll early in the race bringing the safety car out. On the restart contact from behind left Gartner tangled with the USA’s Robbie Pierce and no brakes upfront on his #500 SST. Out of contention for the podium, Gartner dialed on the opposite lock to the huge Clipsal crowds approval to bring truck home in 11th.
Sundays third and final 8 lap race saw Gartner stick to his race plan and avoid the carnage. “Matty Mingay and Toby Price were having a fair battle just ahead of me and thought I’ll stay out and keep the truck clean.”
“It is a long time project and adapting from the dirt to tar and I have made massive gains over the weekend. Getting vital laps is what it is all about at the moment. We finished sixth today and I’ve shaved 10 seconds off our lap times this weekend. Aftter Friday I wanted to get into the 1:40’s and today we did a 1:48.5 which is great.”
“I feel real comfortable in the #500 R&J Batteries truck now, it’s jumping good and nothing is feeling like it was out of control at all. It gives me confidence going in to the next round that we can push it harder again.”
The overall standings over the three race Clipsal 500 would see 18 year old American Sheldon Creed take the win after victories in races 1 and 3 , with Robby Gordon claiming second, and Matt Brabham rounding out the top three.
“It is great to have the Americans over and it will help take us to the level we want to achieve. It’s good fun to race with guys like Robby Gordon, Toby Price and all the boys. Everyone gets on well behind the scenes, and while you do have some moments out on the track, it goes with the territory and you all get over it.”
The Greg Gartner Motorsport has a busy schedule ahead, with the team preparing the #410 Ford F-150 Trophy Truck for the start of the 2016 Australian Off Road Racing Season. Before Greg jumps back behind the wheel of the Stadium Super Truck at Round 2.
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