2011 F1RWRS New South Wales Grand Prix
The racing world was saddened after the death of Tom Walksinshaw who died of complications with cancer at the age of 64. Walkinshaw was involved with many aspects of the Holden Racing Team. JLD Motorsport, NAB-HRT and Team Phoenix all had special liveries honoring Tom. John Zimmer would later dedicate his victory to Walkinshaw.
Pre-qualifying again brought some shocking results as David Koczo was unable to get his Prospec onto the grid. Simon Redman and Giovanni Roda were also knocked out in pre-qualifying. James Davies ended up putting his Club Bangelia on pole for the race with Ashley Watkinson sharing the front row. Championship aspirant Nathanael Spencer qualified third while rival Daniel Melrose qualified sixth in his home race.
After the lights went out, Davies dawdled on the start line and found himself behind Gary Cameron and Watkinson. Cameron slipped past Watkinson for the lead on Lap 2 and Spencer was also able to get by. Melrose was down in eighth place, having been passed by both Frank Zimmer and Chris Dagnall. Davies retook the lead from Cameron on Lap 3 but lost it on Lap 5 after he went off at Turn 4. The midfielders jostled for position while Cameron began to pull out a gap to Davies. John Zimmer was the first to pit on Lap 9. As per usual, the first stopper went on to win the race, albeit in different circumstances than usual.
Spencer managed to get past Davies for second but Spencer, Frank Zimmer, Melrose, Dave Simpson and Aurelien Moll all pitted at once on Lap 11. Cameron now held a large lead but Davies regained it after Cameron made an error at Turn 9. The frontrunners began to bunch up with the field with Dagnall taking the lead. Jari Kekkonen and Cameron battled for second with Thomas De Bock and Barii Mori following in fourth and fifth. Meanwhile, the Zimmers, Spencer and Simpson began carving their way through the field after their pit stops. John Zimmer put in several risky moves and nearly crashed into Pippa Mann.
John Zimmer charged through the field and passed seven cars on Lap 17. Zimmer clawed his way to third but his rival Nathanael Spencer was nearly run off the track by Frank Zimmer in a charming example of brotherhood. Zimmer continued his attack on the field by taking the lead on Lap 18 from Dagnall (who hadn't stopped yet). Unfortunately, Zimmer's brother Frank received a 20-second penalty for dangerous driving along with Pippa Mann. The stewards would apply to penalty after the race. Douglas Mann retired with an engine failure.
Frank Zimmer now tried even harder, knowing that he had to have a large enough gap to score points. He immediately took third from Davies on the next lap and began chasing down his brother. Meanwhile, the two championship contenders battled for fourth and fifth with Dave Simpson also in the mix. Lap 20 saw a Zimmer 1-2 as Frank passed by Simpson for second. The Australian fans cheered on their local heroes. Spencer (running in third) began to fall behind Zimmer and appeared to be unable to make back the 20-second gap as Frank Zimmer was going too quickly. However, Spencer's championship chances were handed an enormous boost as Dave Simpson collided with Daniel Melrose on Lap 25! Simpson was disqualified by the stewards but Melrose was forced to pit for a new front wing which put him a lap down. The former JLD Motorsport teammates displayed no animosity towards each other after the race.
Late in the race, Nicolas Steele caused his second controversial incident in two races by forcing leader John Zimmer into the wall! Zimmer lost the lead to his brother (although, in reality, he still had it after the penalty would be applied) and Steele would be disqualified immediately. As a parting shot, Steele then forced Hagane Shizuka into the wall, garnering much criticism from the press and his fellow drivers. Still, Frank Zimmer crossed the line in the lead but his 20-second penalty for dangerous driving demoted him to third. This elevated his brother and NAB-HRT teammate John Zimmer into first place. Spencer was able to get by Zimmer in the end and with Melrose's crash, he was able to gain the championship lead. Aurelien Moll was fourth, Jeroen Krautmeir was fifth (despite the fact that he was suffering from a severe fever) and Kekkonen was sixth. The two Calinetics of De Bock and Cameron came in seventh and eighth respectively.
Standings After the Race
- Bold text indicates who still has a mathematical chance of becoming champion.
- Drivers' Championship standings
- Constructors' Championship standings
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2012 New South Wales Grand Prix