TIME TO SHINE FOR DECINA RACING With three of seven rounds of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship Series completed, there has never been a more important time to shine for Sydney's Speed FX/Decina Racing than this weekend at Oran Park. The...
TIME TO SHINE FOR DECINA RACING
With three of seven rounds of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship Series completed, there has never been a more important time to shine for Sydney's Speed FX/Decina Racing than this weekend at Oran Park.
The Mona Vale based team jolted itself back into the title chase with a strong performance in Queensland last month and is bound to be buoyed by the support of home state fans during this weekend's three race assignment.
Confidence won't be a problem after initially tracking towards a podium finish last time around before a drive through penalty was enforced in race two.
Driver Michael Caruso appreciates the fact the Series schedule gets into a more regular groove of racing as the business end of proceedings moves into full swing at Oran Park.
"We had the first three events spread across four months and now it's been a shortened turnaround since Queensland so the entire crew are champing at the bit and can't wait to get back on track," said Caruso.
"Oran Park provided the scene for many of my karting triumphs during my childhood career and it's a track that I know really well.
"There's no reason why we can't back it up driving the Decina Falcon there for the first time.
"During 2003 on my way to winning the Australian F3 title I managed to claim the round win at Oran Park and in the process set a new lap record.
"I know that an aggressive approach this weekend will put us well in contention. There's no doubt the rewards are definitely there for drivers who want to have a go."
Team Manager Jim Morton wasn't mincing his words when declaring the clear objective from here on will be for the Decina Falcon to be consistently knocking on the door of race wins.
He's content with the job Caruso has done behind the wheel and now with valuable miles clocked up in Adelaide, Wakefield Park and Ipswich he believes the ride should be even more comfortable towards the remainder of the season.
"This is the first time the development guys have ever competed at Oran Park so each driver goes in with a clean slate," said Morton.
"Michael's a proven performer racing F3's and karts here so we want him to stand up and run consistently in the top three in order for us to work towards putting our first win together.
"Oran Park is definitely a driver's track that undulates up and down and boasts fast sweeping corners, coupled with the tight slower cornering areas.
"Set up will be crucial, but SBR developed cars have traditionally performed strongly there in the past so that's a major positive.
"We did most things right in Queensland but the penalty made a mess of the weekend.
"That's two events in a row that we've suffered drive through penalties in the reverse grid format so we've just got to be more careful and cautious, particularly in the second race where there are only half points on offer."
Apart from a number of body panels being replaced on the Decina Falcon, the Speed FX Racing crew has instigated normal, pre-race servicing procedures.
Twenty-three year old Caruso elevated himself into seventh in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship following his top eight placing in Queensland and on the strength of that performance Morton believes all remaining rounds will better suit his young charge.
"Oran Park, Mallala (September 15-17) and Bathurst (October 5-8) are all more technically difficult tracks that will better suit Michael's smooth driving style.
"Being among the front-runners at these tracks is a true mark of the car and the driver and I believe we've got the mix that will see us pick up the tempo before the season ending Grand Finale at Phillip Island on December 8-10.
"This is what we have to do, starting this weekend, if we want to have the opportunity to reel ourselves back into the Championship hunt."
The Oran Park Fujitsu V8 Supercar program will consist of 2x16-lap features with the second under reverse grid format, plus a third and final 28-lap race.