It was a fitting end to the 2013 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli at Highlands Motorsport Park, with the final race of the season and the maiden event at the new state-of-the-art facility won by track owner Tony Quinn
Pirelli also targeted success in competitions outside Europe, winning the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in Australia and ranking second in the Rally America and first in the SP Category.
rom January 01 2014, Webber officially joins the Porsche factory team as a works driver which already includes Timo Bernhard (32), Romain Dumas (35) and Neel Jani (30)
“I have been astonished by the statistics our engineers have calculated relating to our initial Formula contract: more than 110,000 tyres supplied, 3000 pit stops, and an average of 56 overtaking manoeuvres per race.”
“Our plan today was to try and move ahead of Ian Duncan and now we have done that so we have to be happy. We were lucky on the first stage because Ian got a puncture and then we almost caught him on the second section before he disappeared again in a cloud of dust.”
The only other driver to have won nine races in a row before was Alberto Ascari in the 1950s – but this was across two seasons, also using Pirelli tyres.
In typical Safari style, Waldegård was slowed by animals that were littered by the side of the road. “They weren’t wild animals, so nothing too exciting – just lots of goats and cows but that’s one of the disadvantages of driving first on the roads, there’s a lot of traffic,” said Waldegård who won the last Safari Classic in 2011 with Tuthil.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is also an opportunity for the teams to try out the latest-specification 2014 prototype tyres during Friday’s free practice sessions, in preparation for next season, which features a raft of regulation changes. The new engine characteristics of the 2014 cars will have an important effect on the tyres.
The biggest challenge facing the drivers throughout the Austin weekend was hugely variable track temperatures, ranging from 18 degrees centigrade on Friday to a maximum of 37 degrees centigrade for the race on Sunday.
“I thought that when I stopped my career in 1992 that would be the end of my rally days but there are so many of these classic rallies around, and I just love the old 911s that I couldn’t help but continue. If you have rallying in your blood and get to drive nice cars then it’s so hard to give up. When I won the Safari in 1977 the average speed was 100 kph, but when I won this rally in 2011 the average speed was 110 kph. It is fast, you know, really fast.”