PremiAir Racing got deep into the Gold Coast spirit and enjoyed their first ever home race, ending in a roller-coaster day of emotions.
The fledgling team showed their enthusiasm for the new Surfers Paradise-inspired livery for James Golding, who launched his Subway car straight into the headlines on Sunday morning.
After the 14th qualifying place on Saturday, the 31st place was included Top 10 shootouts on Sunday on the final lap of qualifying to knock off Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Brock Feeney.
This led to Golding and PremierAir making their first Shootout appearance and the pair were delighted.
“It’s unbelievable. We got better and better every time we hit the track,” Golding said on Supercars TV after the lap.
“It was a bit difficult for us this weekend, we were just trying to get the car in the right window and we didn’t even get there.
“I just had to work a little bit more in the car with adjustments and things like that and I just fell through the cracks.
“I’m very excited.”
“He (James) is coming along and I honestly don’t believe we’ve seen the best of him, it’s great for the team and morale,” said PremiAir owner Peter Xiberos.
“One of my things I wanted to celebrate this year was a Top 10 Shootout, and here we are.”
After Golding moved up one place in the standings after a clean Shootout lap, things looked promising for a big result in the second and final race of the PremiAir home event.
The #31 driver managed to stay in the top 10 after the first three laps, but the fun was over a devastating end on the beach chicane.
Goulding was crossed at the back of the right and left four-way section halfway to the back straight of the circuit and leveled the final curb.
In doing so, he was unable to avoid a bunch of tires located on the last left-hand side of the chicane, throwing him onto the racing line and into the path of the chasing pack.
After collecting the barriers, the injured Golding had to endure many more heavy blows as the helpless pack had nowhere to go and came at him.
Thankfully, the 26-year-old escaped without serious injury after the horrific sequence of events and offered a heartfelt apology to the large number of drivers affected by the incident, which blocked the track and put out a red flag.
“We had a good start to the day, taking the car into the top ten for the shootout and then gaining another position in the shootout to start the race in 9th place. I had a solid start but then unfortunately I made a mistake at the back chicane and got unstuck and had a pretty big crash,” Golding said.
“I am very disappointed and apologize to the team for my mistake, it was human error and I also apologize to the other teams and pilots involved.
“It’s not something you want to see and there’s a lot of damaged cars, it certainly wasn’t a good way to end our weekend. Hopefully we can rebuild and move on and do better next time.”
Despite a terrible end to what could have been another impressive result for the #31, the other side of the PremiAir Racing garage saved the honor.
Veteran Kiwi Chris Peter saved his best performance of the year for the first event since leaving the team was announced.
Peter was able to avoid the chaos and finished the day in 9th place, securing his first top 10 of the season and fourth as a full-time driver.
While devastated for his team-mate, Peter was pleased to have managed to give the team a best result in 2022 in the #22.
“When this place bites, it bites hard and I was so sorry to see what happened to Jimmy and I’m glad he’s OK,” he said.
“We just managed to get around that incident and so we were able to continue and even though it was an action-packed race, certainly with a few safety cars and a lot more, we kept our heads, our nose clear and chipped to make sure we brought home the best result.
“I am very pleased to achieve the best result that was in #22 this year.
“Hopefully we can take that momentum and carry on to Adelaide and see if we can do even better.”
The result gives PremiAir reason to cheer after a tense home race and Peter a much-needed confidence boost ahead of what could be his final regular season Supercars career, which began back in 2006 in the Bahrain desert.
Pither, Golding and PremiAir will be looking to complete a season full of firsts at the VALO Adelaide 500 on December 1-4.
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