Darren Turner put in an impressive performance for the Holden Racing Team in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 this weekend, coming tantalisingly close to a podium finish in the two 300km races around the narrow streets of Surfer’s Paradise. Returning to the race he debuted at last year, Darren was delighted to be reunited with James Courtney as he and the 2010 V8 Supercar Champion make a formidable team.
Start duty for race one was down to the visiting international drivers so Darren lined up the No.22 HRT Commodore in ninth place on the grid and waited for the lights to go green.
“The start of race one didn’t really go to plan for a lot of people as it was carnage,” said Darren. “At the first start there were quite a few cars involved in a big crash that saw one car rolling along the start/finish straight. Start two was a little better but then that had to be red flagged due to another start line accident. We got away third time lucky and I was able to settle in quite quickly in fifth place, behind Graham Rahal. I did get past him but we played safe and let him retake the position as we thought it may have been an illegal pass. Unfortunately Nick Heidfeld sneaked through at the same time which dropped me to seventh.”
Darren handed over to James whilst running in the top four and the Aussie duly climbed up to third place, heading for an assured podium finish but circumstances dictated that he took the chequered flag in seventh position.
“James was doing a mega job and that prize surfboard was in our sights,” explained Darren, who had his eye on one of the GC600 podium surfboards. “Unfortunately one of the blades in the rear anti-roll bar then broke which dropped us back a few places. James’ pace was still good despite the problem though so we had high hopes for a stronger finish in race two.”
The international drivers made a much better job of the start for race two and Darren was running in seventh before he passed Graham Rahal and then took fifth when Mika Salo pitted early. He handed the car over to James in fifth place.
“James picked up a drive through penalty for cutting the kerb,” said Darren. “But then a safety car period closed the pack up again and he went on an all-out push for positions. He was doing an amazing job but then had contact with Russell Ingall and dropped right back to 17th.”
“It was looking good for us today but it just didn’t happen. I’ve had an amazing weekend here and it was great that it was less of a baptism of fire than last time. It still takes time to adjust to the car as it’s so different from anything else but I have loved coming to an event run by racers where everyone competes for the love of racing. It has been an absolute pleasure and I hope to come back again next year so I can get my hands on that surfboard!”