Steve Johnson was looking to improve on his qualifying position with an aggressive tyre choice at the start of the first race in the Sky City Triple Crown at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway today. In most races to date in the 2012 V8 Supercar Championship, Johnson has taken the more conservative route of starting on the prime Dunlop tyre then switch to the faster Dunlop Sprint tyre to run to the end.
In today’s 42 lap race Johnson was one of 11 drivers to start on the Sprint tyre with a view to making up track position before others moved onto the softer compound. At the green light, Steve got away well and immediately picked up spots but the hot conditions and extreme track temperature was not delivering the gain Johnson had gambled on.
“We pitted earlier than I had hoped and had to run 27 laps on the harder tyre. We had really thought that the soft tyre would hold on a bit more but it was not to be.” Johnson said.
After the pit stop Johnson was hovering around 15th place but was soon under attack by those who had worked a reverse strategy and were on the Dunlop Soft’s for the balance of the race.
Johnson finally crossed the line in 18th place, 4 spots up on his starting position.
“The DJR cars were really quick on the long straight but we were suffering big time by our pace in the corners. You just get nailed here if you can’t carry good corner speed. We will make some big changes for Sunday and see if we can move up the field.” Johnson concluded.