Difficult start to Toyota 86 Series for George Gutierrez
George Gutierrez endured a difficult weekend at the opening round of the Toyota 86 Racing Series at Phillip Island in support of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The South Australian, who debuted his Plus IT backed Toyota 86 race car at the fast flowing circuit, was caught out on a wet but drying track during qualifying. A red flag interrupted the session, leaving Gutierrez with just one timed lap completed and unable to better that time as the track conditions improved and the lap times tumbled.
Starting from 26th, Gutierrez struggled with straight line speed in the highly competitive 40 car field but moved forward to claim 17th at the end of the first race. He was then further hampered by a penalty in Race 2, for contact while scraping for places in the midfield. Not to let that get the better of him, he then fought back tenaciously in Race 3 to move up 14 places and finish 22nd.
"We had a difficult weekend at Phillip Island," said Gutierrez.
"We got caught out with that red flag in the wet conditions during qualifying and weren't in a position to set a lap when the track conditions were at their best. Which really put us back foot all weekend."
"The boys did a really good job to tune up the car for the races and we made some good progress through Race 1, but we had no straight-line speed to others which made it a really tough weekend."
"That said, we have plenty of positives to take away from the weekend and we'll do our homework to make sure we are back at the pointy end come Townsville."
"I must say a massive thank you to my team and sponsors for making this happen. Owe it to you all! Especially Plus-IT. We received a lot of comments from the public on how good the Plus IT car looked on track and on TV."
Gutierrez's team will now look to improve the car performance ahead of the next round of the Toyota 86 Racing Series up in Townsville in July.
Toyota 86 Racing Series 2019 Schedule:
Races 1, 2 & 3 Phillip Island – April 12-14
Races 4, 5 & 6 Townsville – July 5-7
Races 7, 8 & 9 Bathurst – October 10-13
Races 10, 11 & 12 Sandown – November 8-10
Races 13, 14 & 15 Newcastle – November 22-24