TEST DAY BLESSING FOR WPS RACING The luxury of two test days during the last month and running on the momentum of a highly successful last round in Queensland is bound to pay huge dividends for WPS Racing, as they shape up for this weekend's...
TEST DAY BLESSING FOR WPS RACING
The luxury of two test days during the last month and running on the momentum of a highly successful last round in Queensland is bound to pay huge dividends for WPS Racing, as they shape up for this weekend's Oran Park assignment in the Australian V8 Supercar Series.
Boasting renewed confidence following a season best finish for the team courtesy of a 13th placing by David Besnard and 16th for Craig Baird, the relative newcomers to the National competition appear to have finally turned the corner in their Championship pursuits.
Former Sydneysider Besnard has the chance to reacquaint himself with the 2.7 kilometre Oran Park circuit that has set the scene for many past triumphs in his career.
"I finished second here in 2001 after qualifying third so that was a very memorable weekend and it'd be great just to be among the front-runners this weekend, especially after what we managed to put together in Queensland," said Besnard
"I've spent a lot of time karting at Oran Park so I know the track and have always gone well there so there's no reason why we can't back it up.
"I also wrapped up the Australian Formula Ford title at Oran Park in 1996 and to be honest outside of Bathurst this is probably one of my favourite tracks.
"It's a track where an aggressive approach can put you in contention and there's no doubt the rewards are definitely there for drivers who want to have a go.
Among the 34 V8 Supercar starters at Oran Park there'll be none more focused on honing in on another solid performance than New Zealand expatriate Craig Baird.
The Kiwi juggernaut is going from strength to strength having registered consistent results in his last five outings.
With 105 laps completed in the #8 Wright Patton Shakespeare supported entry during last weeks test, there's an expectation of an even more polished account this weekend.
"That's what the test days are all about, trying some set-up alternatives and hoping we can pinpoint areas where we can improve our performance," added Baird.
"Obviously a lot of the talk lately has been centred around the announcement of our endurance drivers and now that that's been all taken care of we can focus on Oran Park as the perfect lead in to Sandown and Bathurst.
"We're sitting just outside the top 20 in the Championship and are confident of elevating ourselves on the back end of another strong showing in Sydney.
"We were a little slow out of the blocks in Queensland but managed to get things right in the end.
"Yet again we were forced to work our way through the tail due to a disappointing qualifying session so fingers crossed we can get that part of our weekend right and set ourselves better for Sunday's two 54-lap races.
Besnard's #48 Fish Liquor supported entry was unveiled during the last round and positive results were immediately forthcoming.
The added luxury of 107 laps completed in testing is bound to mark another major step in the WPS Racing development program.
"There's been slight gains in horsepower and we're confident of even more when we aim up for the Sandown/Bathurst endurance assault," said an upbeat Besnard.
"Again this weekend we'll be looking to qualify in the top half of the field while keeping out of trouble and hopefully edging towards a top ten performance.
"We'll continue to chip away. There's no doubt there are a lot of good things happening at WPS Racing and we're finally able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
"If we continue to run to our potential everyone will be happy."