Pingel fires in Adelaide
This year Aussie Racing Cars feature as a primary support category to the V8s, one of Australia’s most popular sporting series.
In the season opener, Brendon Pingel in his first full rookie year wasted no time in Thursday’s practice to be eighth quickest in a 42-car field, the largest ever assembled over the past 12 years.
"This is one heck of a track, totally surrounded by concrete walls, and it’s a real first experience for me," Pingel said.
"Being eighth quickest at my first time at this circuit is a real confidence boost."
A very hotly contested Friday qualifying resulted in Brendon qualifying in grid position 11 on row six.
Keen for a great start to the season, as the lights went out in Race One, Brendon immediately picked up a position with a great start but was forced wide in turn four and speared his Toyota Aurion into the concrete barriers causing substantial damage to the car.
Luckily he escaped with only minor bruising and a dose of disappointment.
The factory team worked all night and through until midday the next day to put his car back together, which was now fitted with a front section of last year’s red-and-white Jack Perkins Aurion.
Not the kind of look for a young man who spends his working life detailing cars, but he quickly saw the bright side of having his car back on the track now nicknamed "Picasso".
Having to start Race 2 from grid position 33 gave Brendon a chance to do what he does best, carve his way back through the field to finish in 21st position.
This was a race filled with incidents which also saw one of the series’ top contenders Sheridan Phillips crash and destroy his car which could not be repaired.
Starting from 21st for Race 3, Brendon wasted no time as the lights went out and with a lightning start and an inspiring drive, finished a very credible 13th.
For Race 4, grid positions were determined by the aggregate of the past three races.
This Brendon back in position 21 with it all to do again.
The pressure on as the race started, and in a brave but calculated move, Brendon took four positions by turn one and in a most spirited drive, carving his way through the field finished 12th, only 14.98 seconds behind the winning car, recorded lap times two seconds a lap faster than his previous races.
The first 11 places were filled with drivers of five years or more experience in this category.
This is now only Brendon’s fourth race meeting in Aussie Racing Cars.
Factory team owner James Ward said Brendon is one of the most talented drivers the series has recruited for many years.
"I have no doubt with more time learning the car and developing a maturity of thinking he will be a top ten finisher this year," Ward said.
Round 2 of this year’s series will be held at the famous Mount Panorama Bathurst circuit over Easter weekend.