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Supercars drivers predict "boring" hard tyre racing

The two Townsville races could be dull affairs until the final stint according to a number of front-running drivers.

Shane vam Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

The hard compound Dunlop returns to Supercars this weekend, each driver with four sets at their disposal for two qualifying sessions, two Top 10 Shootouts (if they qualify) and the two races.

The wildcard, however, is that they will also have two sets of the super soft rubber, one for each of the 250-kilometre races.

The super soft tyre running is restricted for the race so drivers won't get to drive on it until they make the call to switch, likely to be in the final stint.

Cam Waters, Shane van Gisbergen and Andre Heimgartner, the pacesetters from today's two practice sessions, all flagged the potential for the first two stints of each race to be processional.

That's based on the lack of grip available on the hard compound tyre, which will make out-braking a rival on the dirty side of the track extremely difficult.

"I don't think you'll see a lot of passing on the hard tyre," said Waters.

"It's pretty sketchy in all of the braking zones, so to ask a little bit more from it, it's not going to give it to you.

"It is what it is. But then when we put the super softs on, that's when the race will probably come alive. Hopefully my car is good on its tyres."

Waters added that the Shootout will also be a challenge on the hard compound tyre, particularly given there was evidence today that it took more than a single warm-up lap to hit peak grip.

"You'll probably see people locking up into Turn 2," he said. "It is harder to get the hard tyre up than a soft or a super soft. It will be a bit of a challenge but it's the same for everyone."

Van Gisbergen agreed that there will be little point trying to pass on the hard, with the key to victory likely to come in how brave teams are in switching over to the super soft.

"Cam summed it up. It's going to be pretty boring until everyone puts the soft on at the end," he said. "It's whoever is brave enough to put it on early and try and make it last."

Heimgartner agreed with Waters and van Gisbergen, adding that changes in position will more likely come from drivers making mistakes on the hard tyre.

"I don't think you'll be putting moves on, you'll be making people make mistakes," he said.

"As the tyre deg hits its cliffs you'll see people locking rears a bit more and stuff like that. It will be more mistakes."

The action from Townsville continues with qualifying at 9:50am tomorrow.

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