Race 11 of the 2012 International V8 Supercars season was tough for Dick Johnson Racing as the four-car team fought for pace at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
With just two cars starting the race in the top 20, the 45 laps were going to rely on driver focus, quick pit stops and staying out of trouble.
Starting the race in 14th - Steve Johnson, 17th - Steve Owen, 25th - James Moffat and 27th - Dean Fiore, the instructions to the drivers from the crew were to keep their heads forward and push through.
The predictable bump and bash of the first lap saw plenty of position changes amongst the field. The Jim Beam Honey Falcon was unlucky to be hit by Greg Murphy, sending Johnson back eight places to 23rd. Moffat avoided trouble and moved up six places to 19.
A Tony D’Alberto engine failure caused the first safety car period on Lap 4 which triggered a dash to the pits by the majority of the field. DJR called the four Falcons into the pits and double stacked them through the first tyre and fuel stop.
When the race resumed on Lap 8, Steve Owen’s V.I.P. Petfoods Falcon was leading the DJR squad in 14th. He was followed by the Team Norton DJR Falcon of Moffat in 18th, Fiore in 22nd and Johnson in 23rd.
After a second Safety Car period, a great battle ensued between Owen and his team mate, with Moffat eventually winning position.
On Lap 26 when the scheduled pit stops had been completed, all 4 DJR cars were in the top 20, with Steve Owen once again leading the tightly packed group of four in 17th.
Two further safety cars were called for debris on the track and on the fourth restart of the afternoon, Owen made up two spots to 15 but the Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Falcon was unlucky to lose position and dropped to 22nd.
With 8 laps to go, fluid on track from a David Wall accident caused Owen to spear off into the gravel and tyre wall at Siberia. Reporting a steering problem back to the pits, Owen pressed on to get through the remaining laps.
Former Jim Beam team mates, Johnson and Moffat, entertained the crowd in the final lap of the race, swapping positions several times as they made their way around the 4.5 km track.
Moffat recovered from his DNF in Saturday’s race, eventually leading the DJR pack home in 16th, Johnson in 17th, Fiore in 19th and Owen in 21st.
The Team now head back to DJR HQ for a few weeks before travelling to Darwin mid-June for Races 12 and 13.