There was plenty of action for Penrite Racing drivers Jobe Stewart and Brodie Kostecki as the Supercars Pro Eseries went to Mount Panorama for round three.
A 20-minute qualifying set the grid for the night’s first race with Jobe setting a time good enough for 20th, while Brodie didn’t get a lap in and settled for last on the grid.
Both Penrite racers were quick off the line; Jobe making up three spots on the first lap, while Brodie picked up an impressive five places. As the field tried to settle into a rhythm Fawzan El Nabi moved over at the Cutting forcing Brodie into the outside wall. With heavy damage, Brodie pit at the end of lap three for a quick repair and four new tyres, while Jobe also joined him in the lane.
A battle then formed between the team’s two Holden’s and Brady Meyers on lap eight. Meyers got into the back of Jobe and pushed him wide, making room for Brodie to drive straight past them both and grab P16.
The mandatory full-field caution was implemented by the stewards at the end of lap ten and when the lights went green for the final time, Brodie sat P15 ahead of Jobe in P17 with four laps remaining.
They had a real crack at getting through the field and Jobe picked up a place before chaos unfolded on the penultimate lap. An incident between Ethan Grigg-Gault and Cooper Webster at the Cutting saw cars in every direction. Jobe took advantage and managed to make his way through the carnage and picked up 12th before the finish line, while Brodie was unfortunate to be taken out and limped across the line in P22.
Brodie’s bad luck turned into a good opportunity with a full reverse-grid for the second race. Starting from P3 and P13, both Penrite racers got away well to move up one spot off the line.
Jobe continued his run and moved into 11th on the second lap, while Brodie’s misfortune continued. Brad Meyers looked for a move though instead tagged Brodie at the exit of the Chase and sent the #9 sideways and into the virtual gravel trap. A big save by Brodie meant he gathered it up and surprisingly only dropped four positions.
Jobe again opted for the undercut, pitting as early as lap four while Brodie waited until lap seven for his compulsory stop. The pair looked at making the most of it as the pit cycle played out, though it came undone for Brodie when Josh Rogers made contact. Brodie went hard in the wall at the grate and with a blown engine, was forced out of the race.
The chaos also continued for Jobe, as Josh Muggleton turned the #999 Commodore around at the exit of the Chase. The young driver kept it together and managed to minimise damage as he lost 11 spots from eighth. He lost one more when Ben Smith tapped him on lap 12, though made an impressive recovery to finish 17th at the finish line.
Penrite Racing co-driver Brodie Kostecki said: “It was a little different this time being back in the Eserieis against the full-time sim professionals. We got a late call-up so I got a sim together over a couple of days but that meant I couldn’t put a heap of practice in which hindered qualifying and put us on the back foot from the start.
“In the first race we got a few cars off the start and our pit strategy was pretty good and we made up some time to put us around 13th. There was an incident at the Cutting and I was a passenger in a pinball machine, which was really unfortunate after looking good for a position just outside the top ten which would have been really good from where we started.
“Race 2 I got another good start and we were sitting comfortably in second then on lap two Meyers wanted to have a go at me at the Chase and tagged me and sent me off the track. That put me on the back foot in traffic and with damage so we made the call to pit. When we came out of the pits we came into a heap of traffic again and there was contact again which was unfortunate. Regardless of results it was good to be back in the sim , represent the team and do some laps at Bathurst.”
Meanwhile, Jobe Stewart commented: “I am disappointed with my qualifying; I just didn’t put my best sectors together when it counted, and you can’t get away with that in this field.
“In race one I had a good first lap and felt confident. There was some crazy driving going on and I just tried to be smart and pass people where I could. Then the Safety Car came out and we all bunched up again. There was a big crash at the Cutting and I was lucky to get through and we picked up a few spots there and ended up just outside the top ten.
“Race two unfortunately go the same way. We had a good run though unfortunately got turned around and that put us back in a position where we couldn’t fight far enough forward.
“Each week I am feeling better with the car and it’s great to have Wayne from Erebus helping. With a bit of luck I think we are really close to a good result.”
The season continues next Tuesday night with races at Michigan International Speedway and Monza.