Motor Sports - Supercars - May 10, 2021

Unbeatable Ford Mustangs At The Bend

There were records all round, including the 400th Championship race victory for the Blue Oval and 40th victory for the Mustang, as Ford swept the Supercars meeting at The Bend in South Australia.

Mustangs claimed pole position for each of the three races at the OTR SuperSprint and converted that speed into a hat-trick of wins.

Andre Heimgartner and Anton De Pasquale became first-time Mustang winners – De Pasquale taking the 400th win – while Cam Waters added to Ford’s dominance on a weekend of changing fortunes and some disastrous crashes.

“We’re extremely proud of our motorsport heritage at Ford Australia, so our 400th ATCC/Supercars victory at The Bend today is a real moment to savour,” said Andrew Birkic, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand. “Some of the greatest names in Australian motorsport have won races under for the Blue Oval, and it was particularly fitting that Ford great Dick Johnson’s team secured the 400th win.”

“It was also fantastic to see Kelly Grove Racing take their first win as a Ford team, and Andre Heimgartner his first Supercars win. To top off a sensational weekend for our teams, Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters completed a Mustang clean sweep in the final race of the weekend – and Mustang’s 40th Supercars win. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen, we’re very proud of your achievements.”

Will Davison was solid with podium places, including the first 1-2 of the season for the Shell V-Power Racing Team when he followed De Pasquale to the chequered flag in the second race of the weekend.

Heimgartner was in a class of his own during a rain-affected Saturday sprint, claiming his first pole position and then his first Supercars victory for Kelly Grove Racing.

De Pasquale bagged two more pole positions for the Sunday sprints, won the first and was only stopped by a mechanical problem in the final race, as Waters took up the slack with a heady drive to first place.

The Supercars championship now moves to Winton in rural Victoria from 29-30 May.

Ben Croke, Dick Johnson Racing

  • “We’re good. Everyone is happy. Confidence is high and we’ve now got eight podiums in a row.
  • “It was good to see Anton score his first Supercars win and it’s all starting to make sense between the crew and two new drivers. Replacing Scott McLaughlin was always going to take a few races.
  • “We are the same team that won three championships in a row and we’ve been putting the pieces together with the new blokes, learning what they need. It was always going to take a little time but we’re getting there.
  • “It’s a little disappointing that we had a problem in the final race, but Will Davison still kept our podium streak going which was good.”

Todd Kelly, Kelly Grove Racing

  • “We’re pretty stoked about the progress we’ve made. We’ve proved that when we get everything right we can be race winners.
  • “I’ve never seen Andre Heimgartner drive so aggressively and he made some pretty handy moves over the weekend. I was pretty impressed.
  • “The only downside is our consistency in qualifying, but nobody was a stand-out over the whole of this weekend. Davey Reynolds had a bit of a shocker, always in the wrong place at the wrong time and no fault of his own, and could not capitalise on his speed.”

Tim Edwards, Tickford Racing

  • “We’re all pretty relieved because we were serial runners-up for a while there. It’s nice to get the bogey off our backs.
  • “I think the most encouraging thing is that we had a few very public issues with tyre life in Tasmania and we came to The Bend with a very different way of setting-up the car. We got out of our comfort zone and didn’t just concentrate on a qualifying car and worked on good race pace and it paid off.
  • “We cannot just rest on our laurels and think we’ve fixed everything, but we certainly didn’t compromise our car too much by going away from our standard set-up so that is promising. I’m also very pleased with Tom Randle’s first Wildcard start and eighth place on Sunday is a very strong result for someone who’s not a full-timer.”

Tim Blanchard, Team CoolDrive

  • “We had a pretty good car all weekend and the opportunity for three Top 10 results so it was a bit up-and-down in the end.
  • “It’s a little bit disappointing that we only got one good result and, after starting in from third in the first race, we saw the opportunity to convert to a podium go missing.
  • “It was pleasing to see the car solidly back inside the Top 10 and prove that our speed in the first round at Bathurst was not just a fluke. We’re getting better and better and now need to gel on things like procedures and pitstops. The speed is there and we just need more consistency.”

Championship standings:

  • Will Davison: 4th
  • Cam Waters: 5th
  • Anton de Pasquale: 7th
  • Andre Heimgartner: 8th
  • James Courtney: 12th
  • David Reynolds: 13th
  • Jack Le Brocq: 16th
  • Tim Slade: 20th
  • Thomas Randle: 25th