Three separate punctures cost BMW Team SRM drivers Steve Richards and Max Twigg any hope of a Top 10 finish at today’s Phillip Island 101 endurance race. The pair combined to qualify the BMW M6 GT3 in 10th position, but a trio of punctures – on a day where tyre failures were prevalent up and down pitlane – made turning promising pace into a decent result impossible.
The BMW Team SRM entry ultimately came home 18th, both Richards and Twigg buoyed by the M6 GT3’s speed, but left deflated by the tyre issues.
“It’s hard to get a result when we’re dealing with three punctures,” said Richards.
“You wobble around to get back to the pits, and by the time you’ve done that you’ve lost a couple of laps. There’s not much more to say.
“We tried something a bit different today with starting Max in the car and doing a double stint, but once he got the puncture at the end of the first stint it became very difficult.
“The car has got some pace, which is great. That’s the good thing we’ll take away from the weekend.”
“I had my puncture at the exit of Turn 2, so it’s a long way back to the pits,” added Twigg.
“That put us down two laps, so it was always going to be hard from there.
“In the second stint we had good solid pace with a full tank of fuel, so that was quite enjoyable. We were running around the midfield when I handed over to Richo, but obviously he had a couple of punctures as well so we didn’t really get a chance to move forward.
“It’s a real shame, because the car felt strong. It’s very comfortable now, very easy to drive. We just need to wait for our turn.”
It was a similar story for the MARC GT BMW M6 GT3 driven by Morgan Haber and DTM star Bruno Spengler, which also had its podium hopes dashed by tyre issues.
The pair made a brilliant start to the day, qualifying second for the 101-lap race. Spengler then put in a thrilling first stint, going head-to-head with V8 Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen for the lead. However, a puncture on Lap 32 while Spengler was leading effectively ended any chance of the car winning the race, while a second puncture during Haber’s stint in the middle of the race made things even worse.
The #90 BMW M6 GT3 finished 13th.
“The first stint was a lot of fun. I could follow van Gisbergen quite comfortably,” said Spengler.
“Unfortunately at the end of the first I had a tyre failure as I came through the last corner. So I had to do a whole lap with a flat tyre. We lost so much time. That cost us at least two laps.
“We definitely had a chance to be on the podium today had that not happened, but that’s racing. In saying that, we have been generally very unlucky this weekend. We’ve had such good pace, and we had chances to be on the podium yesterday and today.
“Everyone here has done a great job. The whole team has been working really, really hard. We did a great pitstop at the end of the race too. I would have liked to have given the team more points, but that’s how it is.”
Haber added that he is disappointed not to see the team’s excellent speed rewarded with a result.
“It’s disappointing. We had a couple of punctures, and I made a mistake at Turn 1 as well which cost us some time,” he said.
“Still, we qualified well and Bruno’s first stint was amazing, so we’re confident that the car is fast. It’s just a shame he had the puncture, because we were in contention up until that point. Between that and my puncture, it cost us a lot of time.”