It’s hard to believe that this was our last “Clipsal”. That’s how I’ve always know Round 1 to be.
It wasn’t one to remember unfortunately. In fact I’ve rarely had good results there, so this year was about finishing well and with a straight car.
It all started well. Practice on the Friday was solid. We were able to replicate our Test Day results by hovering around the top 10. The car felt pretty good too, so we were well placed for a competitive qualifying.
Saturday was an opportunity for us to qualify for the first time in 2017. I managed to squeeze into the top 10 again, which earned us the chance to feature in the popular Top 10 Shootout.
By the time the Shooutout started the track had already begun to change and being first out I wasn’t able to improve enough to challenge the likes of Red Bull and DJR Team Penske.
Starting from 10th we made a good start and tried an early pit stop. It started to work our way but we battled mid race to get past a few cars. Though we tried a few things to get into the Top 10, our plans were foiled when I got pinned for kurb hopping. That cost us dearly and we just managed to finish in 18th place.
Sunday proved another chance to redeem ourselves but again curb hopping proved my nemesis. It meant we had to start from P17.
Despite the extremely hot weather, I managed to get into a rhythm on the Sunday. The car felt pretty good and I was able to work my way through the field. Our pit stops were pretty good too and by the end of the race I was fighting to chase down a top 10 finish. But a 12th placed finish was the best we could achieve.
So after Round 1 I find myself in P14 in the Championship. Not great, but not tragic either and from here a couple of good results will see us in the Top 10 of the Championship.
I owe a lot to Barry and Betty and all the crew at Erebus. The pit garage and trucks looked awesome and so did the crew. It was a challenging round, but we came out feeling positive and confident.
Next round will be AGP. It’s literally across the road from home…so I’m looking forward to it. See you there!