As I write I can’t quite believe that the next event is the biggest of them all … Bathurst.
It’s been a busy month or so with two events, at Sydney Motorsport Park and at Sandown (Melbourne), and it’s fair to say neither went to plan for us.
We finished everything, got some points, but we certainly didn’t have the success we’d been looking for … which of course we’ll be hoping to do at Bathurst.
At Sydney Motorsport Park we struggled with finding the ‘sweet spot’ for the car in qualifying, so qualified 19th for the main race … which in such a closely-matched, competitive field, means it’s going to be a tough afternoon.
Eventually we came home 10th, with a car that was much better at the end of the weekend than at the start, but our championship rivals were scoring the big points up front and that hurt us in the title race.
In the sprints at the Sydney track there was a fifth and another 10th, so no podiums for the weekend.
In stark contrast to the Sydney weekend’s overcast skies and occasional rain, the weather for the Sandown 500 was the best it’s been in memory.
Cloudless blue skies and almost hot conditions … very unlike the Sandown 500’s often cold, windy and wet conditions.
As the opening round of the 2015 V8 Supercar Enduro Cup, kind of like a three-race series within the overall Championship, Sandown’s 500 kilometre endurance race saw me sharing the #888 Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore with co-driver Steve Richards.
Richo was right on the money all weekend but we struggled with the car again … it was really good in clean air but not good in traffic, and after we had to start from 23rd for the big race, there was plenty of traffic to get through.
Teammates Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell had similar complaints, except they started right at the sharp end of the field and led most of the race, until various dramas dropped them to the tail.
I’ve been doing this a long time and am used to the ups and downs of the sport, and I know we’ll turn it around, but it has been a particularly frustrating season this year.
At the end of the day you win because you have better pace than your rivals, which is why PRA has been so strong this year … we haven’t had the pace or the consistency, and that’s what we have to fix.
Despite that, I am excited about our prospects for Bathurst.
There’s nothing I like more than a long-distance race, something I can get my teeth stuck into, and where everyone in the team plays a part.
Bathurst is a magical place, the best track in the country from a driver’s perspective, and easily the most important race to win in any season.
Many people think it’s more important to win Bathurst than the Championship … I kinda agree but I’d still like to win both again!
We’re working flat out on solving the issues we’ve been having with the car and I am confident we’ll have a very good package for Bathurst, and I am equally confident we will make the absolute most of what we’ve got.
Whether Richo and I can get onto the top step of the podium is going to depend not only on all of that but how well our rivals put it together. That’s the great unknown.
Wish us luck!