Auckland race driver Daniel Gaunt claimed his first ever podium in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series, finishing third overall for the triple-race weekend at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway
The fourth event for Gaunt in the McElrea Racing run VnC Cocktails/Mad Butcher BF Falcon, the 24-year-old was second overall on weekend points, heading in to the final race.
Having never driven the 3.1 kilometre circuit before, Gaunt qualified seventh, finishing race one fifth and the second race in fourth – awarding him a front-row start for the final.
“It was a fairly fraught last race to be honest. The first podium for Dan and us as a team, so we’re pretty stoked really,” said ex-pat Kiwi and team owner Andy McElrea.
“He started on the outside of the front row; David Russell started on the inside, braked late in to turn one which pushed Dan wide and off the track, so when he rejoined the track he’d lost over four positions,” he explained of the seventh place finish.
Gaunt said the result still gave them enough points to stay on the podium: “We got fairly equal starts, but the guy on pole ran wide and I couldn’t turn down to take the corner, so I just B-lined it for turn three and dropped a few spots. But we knew what we had to do to remain on the podium and that’s what that race was about in the end. If we’d had a cleaner start we might have been able to hold on for a win.”
Having three weeks until the next round on the 2009 Fujitsu V8 Supercar calendar, the Queensland based team have a ‘home’ weekend. Set 55 kilometres south-west of Brisbane, it is part of the Willowbank motorsport complex near Ipswich.
“We’re heading to our home track now where I’ve done a few test days and really enjoy the circuit. Our McElrea Racing SBR built car has done a lot of laps around there so we shouldn’t have as much of a disadvantage as tracks I haven’t been to before,” added Gaunt.