Ah, Winton. We’ve said it once and we will say it again, it’s a love/hate relationship.
The weekend delivered a string of podium-less results for the Red Bull Racing Australia team, the tight and twisty circuit again proving to be the one we just can’t crack in the Car of the Future era. After Craig’s third place on Sunday last year, we hoped we’d got back into our stride there. But, alas, that hope was misplaced *cue violins*.
Previously, Triple Eight had secured eight race wins from 18 starts between 2004 and 2012, but attempts have been fruitless ever since, and it has meant sleepless nights for Cauchi and a serious amount of Red Bull consumed by Dutto.
Now, maybe someone wasn’t wearing their lucky jocks, or maybe it’s because our fearless leader RD wasn’t with us (could RD be our lucky charm?) but it’s eyes forward leading up to Darwin to get these bulls just right.
“I took a back seat on the weekend and watched from home. It was good and bad,” said RD.
“I felt that I wanted to get stuck in with everyone to try to help us improve, but it was also good to be at arm’s length to help identify where we need to do a better job.”
There is no doubting that competition is as fierce as ever. Fast cars, fast pit stops and solid strategies are the reason the category has now had nine different winners over 11 races.
However, our performance wasn’t picture perfect, which showed in our results over the three days.
“Improvement is needed in car setup and pit stops; there were some driver errors also. Some driver errors were induced by poor car setup, but not all,” said RD.
Team Manger Mark Dutton was in the thick of it, pushing through what could only be considered as stage six man-flu and ensuring the team persevered as best they could.
“We didn’t have our sharpest weekend as a team,” said Dutto.
“We need to improve in all areas. Everyone was working hard and giving their all, so attitude was spot on, we just need to review all aspects of execution to see what we could have done better. If it was simple, we would have done it on the weekend; we have some ideas so we will be working hard to explore those.”
When all is said and done, we still managed to walk away from the weekend with some solid points in the VASC Championship kitty. With JDub sitting in third place and SVG in fifth, we head to Darwin with fire in our bellies ready to redeem ourselves.
“We are massively motivated to achieve what we know we are capable of in Darwin. Competition is tough as always, with more cars than ever winning races, but I know we have the team to do it!” said Dutto.
With a test day coming up in early June, all hands are on deck (and social lives on hold) to make sure we take the Top End by storm.
The Red Bull Racing Australia crew will be in Darwin June 17-19 at Hidden Valley Raceway.