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Australia Australia
Supercars Pukekohe

Heimgartner rates home podium over victory

Andre Heimgartner says his second place on home soil today at Pukekohe trumps his maiden Supercars victory.

Andre Heimgartner, Brad Jones Racing

The Brad Jones Racing driver was the best-placed Kiwi in today's opening race of the Auckland SuperSprint, finishing second to Will Davison.

That made 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 spirited reaction from the home crowd, particularly given this is the final Supercars round at Pukekohe Park before the circuit closes down early next year.

"It was funny. I was happy I came second but [the fans] were acting like I won the race." said Heimgartner.

"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, being on the other side of that, and then having them cheer for you, it's a pretty awesome feeling."

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

"I'd probably say it was better," he said. "The reaction at The Bend... you know, you don't get a crowd like that at The Bend.

"To do well in front of my fellow countrymen is pretty awesome. I would probably say that was better than the win."

Heimgartner came under pressure late in the race after a safety car put a speedy Cam Waters right on his tail.

Fending off Waters in the five-lap dash to the flag meant Heimgartner was unable to put any real pressure on leader Davison.

"I was just doing my thing, looking after the gaps and the tyres and hoping to push for the last six laps," he said.

"The safety car puts you out of the rhythm and I knew Cam doesn't waste time, so I was pretty wary of not getting caught up and going backwards at the safety car. At the same time I wanted to try and attack Will but I couldn't quite get there."

The second place does put Heimgartner well in contention for the Jason Richards Trophy.

That would be a fitting outcome given both Heimgartner's nationality and the fact he races the #8 BJR entry formerly raced by Richards.

"It's pretty special," he said. "I'm driving car #8 which he drove as well and for the team that he drove for. And being a Kiwi – I guess you could say it would mean a lot to everyone in our team."

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