The Supercars season resumes this weekend at the Symmons Plains Circuit in Tasmania after a month long hiatus. Despite appearing as a support act at the Australian Grand Prix, this is the second round of the Supercars 2017 championship. A notorious power track, there are still chances to see high action there this weekend.
|Symmons Plains Raceway|
|Location||Launceston, Tasmania||Circuit Length||2.410 km / 1.498 mi|
|Direction||Anticlockwise||Lap Record||51.471s – Rick Kelly (2009)|
Despite being a relatively short circuit, it is second only to Bathurst in the amount of time which drivers spend at full throttle. Even though many commentators say there are eight corners, there are really only three tricky ones.
Turn one is possibly the most difficult as drivers have to break for a 90 degree left turn while going over a gentle right crest. A brake failure in 2013 here saw Scott Pye hit the outside barriers head-on, nearly going over the top of the fencing.
The hairpin at the end of the straight provides a great passing opportunity and some classic lap one blunders. Drivers either run the high or low line depending on whether they need to defend or attack heading down the next piece of road.
After going flat-chat down the back straight and around the massive curve in it, the cars arrive on the sixth gear limiter at the final turns of the track. The perfect place for a criss-cross, the two turns flow as one, meaning if someone goes too hot into the first section, they could be mugged coming back on the pit straight.
|2017 Virgin Australian Supercars Championship – Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint|
|Event Dates||07-09 April 2016||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 12:40-13:25|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 15:00-15:45||Free Practice Session 3||Sat 11:30-12:15|
|Race 3 Qualifying||Sat 13:50-14:05||Race 3 (50 laps)||Sat 16:45-17:40|
|Race 4 Qualifying||Sun 11:30-11:50||Race 4 (84 laps)||Sun 14:05-15:30|
Session times quoted in Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT + 10:00)
Rewind to 2016
When the field arrived last year, three different drivers had won in Adelaide. Mark Winterbottom qualified on pole for race one, the fourth straight pole position for Ford in the year. Come race time and it was Shane van Gisbergen who stole the show, winning his first race for Triple Eight and the 500th race for Holden in the Supercars/ATCC championships. This was to be the turning point for his season as it signified the first time he had beaten Jamie Whincup to a win in the same car.
Sunday saw Will Davison’s pole time penalised by two places after impeding James Courtney in qualifying. This again meant Winterbottom would start the race from the prime position. Although he led off the line, Winterbottom soon lost the lead to van Gisbergen on Lap 3. The Red Bull cars had to double stack during an early race Safety Car period, hurting Whincup’s chances. Midway through the race and just after taking his second stop, Whincup went off into the gravel trap at the hairpin, bringing out the Safety Car and allowing the pack to close on van Gisbergen.
In the dying laps of the race, van Gisbergen looked like a win was in the bag until Cam Waters dropped oil on the run to the hairpin, catching out a few drivers including the leader. Van Gisbergen beached his car in the gravel against the fence and Winterbottom ran wide, allowing Davison to take the lead. He stayed there until the flag, becoming the fifth different winner of the year and giving Tekno their first victory since the departure of Steve Hallam.
The Form Guide
If Adelaide and last year’s races are anything to go by, van Gisbergen would be a safe bet to take the round this weekend. If you factor in the Australian Grand Prix support races, however, it was DJR Team Penske and Ford who dominated; Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert being on the round’s podium with two, one and one race wins respectively. You can also never rule out Whincup who will be hungry for success after a winless season so far.
|TyrePower Tasmania SuperSprint Weather Forecast|
|Friday||13°C – 24°C||Saturday||12°C – 22°C||Sunday||8°C – 16°C|
Images via Edge Photographics, Motorsport.com, Red Bull Content Pool