Momentum the driving force heading to Bathurst Richards and Whincup keep levelheaded after Sandown podium result FRESH from their first V8 Supercar podium finish in the recent Sandown 500 in Melbourne, Dodo Racing drivers...
Momentum the driving force heading to Bathurst
Richards and Whincup keep levelheaded after Sandown podium result
FRESH from their first V8 Supercar podium finish in the recent Sandown 500 in Melbourne, Dodo Racing drivers Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup feel that the momentum their last-start result has given the team stands them in good stead for Bathurst.
As the biggest event on the calendar, the 1000-kilometre endurance classic has been the focal point for the Melbourne-based Holden squad all season. The ongoing improvements and developments in their Commodores have pushed them up the order and well and truly in contention for a strong finish at Bathurst.
Richards certainly isn't getting carried away with the Sandown result but says it has lifted moral around the workshop and helped inspire both he and Whincup for their assault on Mount Panorama.
"When you've worked for something for so long and then you actually achieve it, it's a very special feeling," said the Kiwi.
"There's been plenty of times this year where we've put ourselves in a strong position but for one reason or another the result hasn't come to fruition.
"Bathurst is an inspiring place by itself so to head there with the confidence of a podium at Sandown is more motivation to add to the fact we're going to such an inspiring circuit."
Whincup has a different focus for Bathurst this year. Last year he drove an older model car and was simply under instruction to drive conservatively and finish. This year he will be very much in 'race' mode.
"It's a very long day though and you have to make sure you don't slip up," he says.
"I know that's a line that has been wheeled out many times in the past but history shows it's absolutely true. We will just focus on pushing the car hard all day and running competitively. It's essential to not do anything silly.
"From the discussions we've had around the team at the workshop, the boys have had a good car up there in the past. Now with some extra power from our in-house engine program through Ron Harrop and Neill Burns, I'm pretty confident we can fire up and down the Mountain at a good pace.
"Sandown and China (where Whincup finished fourth) were fantastic but they don't change our focus. There's no expectations or pressure on us externally, it's all in the levels we place on ourselves.
"Our approach to Sandown was the same and we had a good result so there's no need to change that now."
Coulthard and D'Alberto were non-finishers at Sandown after a late-race accident but both showed good turns of pace that they can carry to Bathurst.
"The team hasn't tested since Sandown but I did a day in my own HPDC Series car last week at Winton," said D'Alberto, who is one of four Bathurst 1000 rookies in this year's race.
"I'm looking forward to getting up there to Bathurst and having a crack at it. I'd really love to finish it. As much as it would have been nice to see the chequered flag at Sandown, it would mean so much more to have a finish at Bathurst if I were able to choose between the two.
"That's our first goal and we'll set ourselves further ones as the weekend unfolds."
Coulthard will again race his Porsche in the Carrera Cup in addition to driving the team's #23 Dodo Commodore in the main race.
"The progression we've made within the team and working with Rob (Palermo, engineer on car #23) has helped us build a stronger bond than we had before Sandown.
"My schedule for Carrera Cup is a lot better spaced out than at Sandown where there were times I'd have to race from the Commodore to the Porsche which was waiting for me on the dummy grid.
"We have a schedule in place which pretty much divides up the time in the Dodo car on a 50/50 basis. Tony will qualify the car and start it, so I'll step in at the first pitstop and take it from there."
Richards is making his eighth start in the Bathurst endurance classic. His best finish of 11th came with Simon Wills in 2002, while Whincup is heading to the Mountain for only his fourth start. He finished ninth in last year's race in an older model Commodore.
Coulthard has one Bathurst 1000 start last year where he and Richards were running strongly in the top six until debris punctured their radiator and forced them to finish a delayed 20th. His partner D'Alberto is making his 1000 debut, though finished third in the supporting V8 Supercar Development Series event in 2004.
Network Ten will telecast all of the action from Bathurst, beginning on Friday October 7 from 1pm to 4pm for qualifying, Saturday October 8 from 12pm to 5pm and the race itself on Sunday October 9 from 7am to 5pm.