Darwin’s Bryce Fullwood claimed a career-equalling best of seventh place during the final race of the three comprising the third round of the 2016 Dunlop V8 Supercar Series at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway today.
After a mixed batch of wintery weather, Fullwood hit the track for practice and qualifying, limiting valuable set-up time. 17-year-old Fullwood lined up for the first race having qualified in position 15 in the 24 car field, which marked an improvement of more than six positions from the same Dunlop Series event in 2015.
When the lights went out to start the opening 28-lap race, Bryce charged into the fray, making up two spots on the opening lap. Soon after, he became embroiled in a torrid mid-pack dice for the remainder of the journey, which was impacted by a late-race Red Flag when heavy rain hit the circuit on lap 22. Position 14 was the result in the shortened race, with Bryce having set a fastest race lap time more than one second quicker than he had achieved at the circuit just 12 months ago.
Sunday saw beautiful fine and sunny, albeit chilly, conditions prevail and Bryce wasted no time in moving up the order when the race started in furious fashion, completing the opening lap in 12th position. Thereafter, he was involved in a spirited battle on the field … and more than holding his own, the former multiple karting title winner raced wheel to wheel with many more experienced drivers to claim a workmanlike 11th place at the flag.
The final race was an absolute cracker, with three new tyres fitted to his Middy’s Falcon Bryce rocketed through the field to be in position 10 at the completion of the opening tour, before a lengthy Safety Car period ensued after a number of off-track excursions saw cars stranded in the ever-present Barbagallo sand traps. On the restart Bryce made further bold and assertive passing manoeuvres, stalking those ahead of him with great car speed and moving up to seventh place before yet another Safety Car period denied him the chance of climbing further up the field. Regardless, claiming seventh spot at race end was a great way to finish another excellent weekend of V8 Supercar racing.
“The mixed conditions were really frustrating and really not what I needed to learn the track in a fast car. The scattered showers continually hurt our set-up plans and we went into qualifying somewhat behind the eight ball. I was content, but not delighted, with 15th place and decided to try and use the first two races to put myself in a position where I could finish the weekend with more points and a strong result.
“I had some great battles in each of the races but passing was hard in the first one with rain again hitting the circuit and the Red Flag that cancelled the race early didn’t do me any favours, but I’m sure plenty of other drivers would say exactly the same thing.
“Sunday was a great day and I learnt plenty racing with a heap of guys with lots of experience as well as some of the young guys in newer equipment, and to continually improve my position was really satisfying. The final race was a blinder and with more time I think I could have managed a position even higher up. We had saved some good tyres and the car was working really well, but the late race Safety Car period denied me any opportunity of making more passes. I can’t wait for our next race in Townsville, even though it is not until July.”