He may have missed out on the Top 10 Shootout for the Bathurst 1000, but Nissan V8 Supercars driver and Motorsport.com columnist Rick Kelly knows there is still a long way to go.
In yesterday’s last practice session I think it did show to us that we lost some momentum by missing the session and a half on Thursday afternoon. We certainly had some work to do.
Coming in to today and having an extra practice session before qualifying really helped our cause.
I think we closed the gap up to our team-mates quite a bit in that 40 minutes. We found some better pace, as well as some more confidence in the car over the top of the hill, which is important.
So we were definitely in a better position coming into qualifying… but unfortunately on that first flying lap I just didn’t quite put it all together, and maximise what we had.
I braked just a little bit early into Turn 2, and it cost us some time.
We only had one chance to set a competitive lap-time, and unfortunately we didn’t get it together.
We’re now going to start from 19th, which just makes the start of the race a little bit tougher for us, but I don’t think we started too far in front of that last year – and we certainly had the opportunity to get a good result.
It’s certainly not over yet, but we’ve got a bit of work to do over 161 laps.
I think a fast racecar and a fast qualifying car around here can be two different things a lot of the time.
It was the same last year; we didn’t have the car to get us up the front in qualifying, but we certainly had a car in the race that could get us up to the front, obviously discounting the electrical drama we had which hampered our progress.
I think the Jack Daniel’s Nissan will be pretty steady in the race. I’m pretty confident, but there are still a couple of things we need to tweak in the morning warm-up just to make sure that we are strong in the areas that we need to be.
Obviously by missing out on the Top 10 Shootout we have the painful task of watching on from the sidelines, which is really tough. There’s nothing quite like having The Mountain to yourself.
Now we’ve just got to concentrate on our planning for race day, making sure we have our strategy nailed down, our fuel usage, and contingencies for all of the things that can and do go wrong.
You’re never going to have a perfect race, so you’ve got to be prepared for all of the eventualities.
Lastly on a personal note, you’ve got to make sure that all of your food and drink intake is alright, and that you have a good night sleep, and return tomorrow ready to fire.