BAHRAIN -- Irwin Racing's Alex Davison has endured a frustrating weekend at the Gulf Air 400 in Bahrain; the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Bahrain represented the second-straight weekend of racing for the V8s in the Middle East, following the opening to the 2010 season at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Following a positive practice day on Thursday, hopes were high for Davison and the Irwin Racing Ford for the twin 200km races. However, the Bahrain International Circuit has a reputation for being a tyre killer and Davison was to suffer from that infliction during both races.
After qualifying in the top-10 for both races in Abu Dhabi, Davison just missed the shootout for the first race in Bahrain, qualifying 12th. However, the opening lap proved a battle ground with Davison being hit by other competitors in two separate incidents. Lee Holdsworth was penalised 15 championship points for the first incident. That hit affected the Irwin Ford's balance and Davison finished 18th.
Despite qualifying 22nd for Race No. 2, Davison got a great start and made up 10 spots on the opening lap. He was involved in a battle with the likes of Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes, but only a handful of laps into the race the excessive tyre wear soon took its toll and Davison slipped back down the order.
Despite his best efforts, Davison could only manage a 17th place finish. After two events he is 18th in the championship.
Despite the disappointment, Davison and the Irwin Racing crew have been encouraged by the performance of their Stone Brothers Racing teammate Shane van Gisbergen who collected two podium finishes in the Middle East and is third in the championship.
The next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series is the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide from 11-14 March.
"I thought the Irwin Racing team got off to a good start in practice, but we then lost our way in car set-up in the races. In the second race I got a great start and made up 10 spots on the opening lap. I was pressuring Rick Kelly for a while, but once the shine went off the tyres I had nothing. My team mate Shane van Gisbergen has had the pace during the Middle Eastern rounds and we will work on getting our car set-up close to his for the next race in Adelaide. We showed excellent qualifying speed in Abu Dhabi and we were not far off the mark here in Bahrain; so that improvement has been a positive. I know that the IRWIN Racing team is capable of qualifying well and running at the front; so setting goals of scoring podium results is not out of the question. It's just so important to put together a complete weekend to get those top results and that will be the goal for the Clipsal 500 in two weeks time."
DAVID STUART – IRWIN RACING ENGINEER
"The weekend in general for the Irwin Racing crew has been disappointing in terms of the final result. We had a solid practice and only just missed the top-10 shootout for race No. 1. Today we were a long way off the pace. So we need to have a good look at what is required to get our car closer to Shane's. The good thing is that we do all work together and we are very keen to have all the team cars running towards the front. The Irwin Racing team has only a few days back at base in Queensland before heading to Adelaide. However, we have only suffered very minor damage during this double-header in the Middle East; so our preparation will not be affected. We are very committed to scoring a good result in Adelaide and climbing back up the leader board."