Double NZ V8 champion says a lack of car speed in his Falcon may see him struggle even in the reverse grid race where he’ll start near the front.
Timaru International Raceway, March 4, 12.15pm. NZ V8 Ford Falcon racer Mark Pedersen doubts whether even starting near the front of the grid in this afternoon’s reverse grid heat will help his chances.
That was the recipe for success in the last round at Manfeild where the United Video driver drove to a dominant win after a weekend of misery during qualifying and the first two races.
But his weekend at Timaru has been even worse so far, despite a promising start in timed practice on Friday.
Pedersen had been in the top batch of drivers – third in session one though he slipped to sixth in session two, which left him unhappy and hoping changes made for Saturday would bring an improvement.
In qualifying he was seventh, and finished Saturday’s race eighth.
In this morning’s race, it got a whole lot worse. He started ninth on the grid, and finished 21st after being turned around by another car during the early stages.
More frustrating were his lap times when he was running on a clear track as he strove to claw back placings. His fastest lap, 69.317 seconds, was just over a second slower than race winner Andy Booth’s.
He was mystified by the Falcon’s lack of pace. “Something’s gone wrong since Friday night, but I can’t put my finger on it,” he said, looking up from his laptop computer on which he was analyzing data from the race.
“We were third in the first (practice) session, sixth in the second and now we’re 23rd.”
Pedersen said the lack of car speed wasn’t through lack of trying on his part. “That’s for sure.
“Even for the reverse grid race we won’t have enough car speed to maintain our position. (In Race 2) I didn’t have the speed to pass drivers I should’ve been able to pass with ease.
“We’ll have to do something radical for the next race. We’ll have to pull something out of the hat.”
Mark’s father’ leading race car engineer, Garry was equally puzzled by the car’s slowness.
“We’ve got no grip, no nothing. We’re just doing something wrong, but we don’t know what. I wish I did.
“Even when we’re running by ourselves we’re still not doing any good times.”
Among options being considered for Race 3 include softening-up the suspension in the quest for better grip.