Car rates

Heimgartner rates home podium over victory

Brad Jones Racing driver was the best placed Kiwi in today’s opening race of the Auckland SuperSprint, finishing second behind Will Davison.

This makes him the fifth Kiwi to finish on the podium on home soil along with Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin, Greg Murphy and Fabian Coulthard.

The result drew a strong reaction from the local public, especially as this is the Supercars’ last round at Pukekohe Park before the circuit closes early next year.

“It was funny. I was happy to come second but [the fans] were acting like I won the race,” Heimgartner said.

“It was cool to see that. I can only imagine what it would be like if we actually won the race, what it would be like.

“As a young kid, to be on the other side of that and then seeing them cheering you on is a pretty awesome feeling.”

The fan reaction during the post-race celebrations was so special for Heimgartner that he admitted it was a better feeling than his first Supercars win at The Bend last year.

“I would probably say it was better,” he said. “The reaction to The Bend…you know, you don’t get such a crowd at The Bend.

“Doing well in front of my countrymen is pretty awesome. I would probably say it was better than winning.”

Heimgartner came under pressure late in the race after a safety car threw a fast Cam Waters at him.

Pushing Waters back in the five-lap race to the flag meant Heimgartner was unable to put any real pressure on leader Davison.

“I was just doing my thing, watching the gaps and the tires and hoping to attack the last six laps,” he said.

“The safety car gets you off the pace and I knew Cam wasn’t wasting any time, so I was pretty careful not to get caught up and back to the safety car. At the same time, I wanted to try to attack Will but I couldn’t get there.”

Second place puts Heimgartner well in contention for the Jason Richards Trophy.

This would be an appropriate result given both Heimgartner’s nationality and the fact that he races the #8 BJR entry formerly raced by Richards.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “I drive the No.8 car which he also drove and for the team he drove for. And being a Kiwi – I guess you could say that would mean a lot to everyone in our team.”