In a weekend that could have been a lot worse for the Australian Industrial Supplies XR8 Ute, David Sieders has now moved to third place for the Auto One V8 Ute Series – protected by Armor All after Round Six on the streets of Surfers’ Paradise this weekend, 21-23 October 2011.
Despite hitting a wall, a rogue water bottle and a move gone wrong all threatening to prematurely end Sieders’ weekend, the 27 year old from Londonderry in Sydney’s West has left the Gold Coast one position closer to the Championship Lead of Chris Pither, after Grant Johnson failed to finish Race Two.
“This is a pretty hard track that claims a lot of cars every year,” said Sieders, “we had something in each race that could have ended much worse, so we’ve really been quite lucky when you look at things”.
“It’s good that we’ve been able to pick up a spot in the Championship, but we’ve also given Chris Pither and Ryal Harris a bunch of points ahead of us, which will be hard to chase down, and we’ve also allowed Nathan Pretty to close the gap behind us, which isn’t great.”
Sieders struggled to get great pace on Friday, and ended up qualifying fifth with a time 12-thousandths of a second slower than his Pole Position lap time from 2010.
“Our Qualifying time was pretty much the same as last year, but the car just wasn’t as good as it was last year on Friday,” said Sieders, “it just wasn’t turning as aggressively, and I would have liked to have qualified a little better than fifth”.
In Race One on Saturday, Sieders had made his way through to second place by lap four, steadily closing the gap to Ryal Harris and setting the fastest lap of the session at the time, before he found himself in the wall at Turn 12 on lap six.
Although suffering bent steering, Sieders only dropped one place to Cameron McConville, which he’d picked up earlier in the lap, and was able to hold off a charging Nathan Pretty, until he slipped on oil on the final turn of the final lap and to finish fourth.
“I learned some valuable lessons from Rick Bates at Adelaide last year, which probably kept me in the race with only panel damage and some bent steering after hitting the wall,” said Sieders.
“It was a good battle with Nathan [Pretty], and I had him covered until I hit the oil that he didn’t and was able to just drive past me.”
For Race Two, Sieders started from fifth again with the Top Eight inverted for the reverse grid, and was quick to make his way through the field, to be second on lap three, chasing down Championship Leader, Chris Pither.
Fighting his way through the concrete jungle that is the Surfers Paradies Street Circuit, Sieders also had his feet working overtime to maintain pace with a water bottle rolling under his pedals throughout the whole race, dropping to fourth, but also setting the fastest time for the race.
“It was really scary,” said Sieders, “this track is hard enough without a bottle rolling under your pedals”.
“I had one lap where it didn’t seem to come down, and was able to show some of the speed in our cars,” said Sieders, “I’m just glad that as bad as it was, I was able to keep it from being disastrous”.
It was a position five race start for the third time in a row for the final race of the weekend, and Sieders was in for another tough battle, forced to take evasive actions from a sideways Jack Elsgood on lap two at Turn 12, which he got back at Turn Four on the following lap, but his day was about to get worse.
At Turn 11 on Lap Four, Sieders saw an opportunity on Championship Leader, Chris Pither, which was promptly closed, and the AIS National Ute found itself over committed, locking up, clipping the car in front and forced to go down the escape road and dropping to 12 places, eventually finishing in 16th.
“I just got it wrong,” said Sieders, “I had an opportunity to make a move on [Chris] Pither, but it was closed pretty quick and I locked it up...I’m just glad I was able to get it around the wall, but really disappointed to finish the weekend that way”.
The Auto One V8 Ute Series will head to Sandown International Raceway for the penultimate round of the season three and a half weeks, 18 – 20 November.
“We’re sitting third in the Championship, but with only two rounds remaining, we’re going to need more than strong results for us to move up further, but it happened today, so who knows what’s ahead.”