V8 Supercar driver Steve Ellery says the smaller teams in the championship have to nail qualifying' if they hope to win round of the Shell Championship Series and says Paul Morris' win at the last round has reaffirmed that the smaller teams can ...
V8 Supercar driver Steve Ellery says the smaller teams in the championship have to nail qualifying' if they hope to win round of the Shell Championship Series and says Paul Morris' win at the last round has reaffirmed that the smaller teams can achieve that goal.
Ellery knows the Super Cheap Auto team is capable of winning races in the Shell Championship Series and believes he is one of many who can deliver the goods. Before you can do that, he says, you've got to match the pace in qualifying.
"I've got no hesitation in saying that the difference between us coming seventh and getting a podium finish at Calder was our qualifying form.
"Seeing we're all close in pace, a good qualifying spot can give you a huge head start. The guys just in front of us in the championship have generally qualified well and at tracks like Calder where lap times are close, a spot inside the top five is vital.
"We've got a lot of speed for a new team but we're still having teething problems with qualifying. Canberra is the only round where qualifying has gone right for us (4th), and realistically our pace on track says we should be right up there. There are still a couple of things we have to work on." said the Super Cheap Auto driver.
Ellery says Morris' recent success has proved small teams can win against their bigger budget rivals but says getting the right answers on the day can still be tough.
"At Calder, we were at a loss to explain why we didn't get quicker when we bolted on new tyres in qualifying and that's what we have to work on. In the last race our lap times were in the top three but it's not much help if you've started behind the eight ball," Ellery said.
It is exactly the same plan the leaders in the championship have been playing by all year. A good qualifying position equates to a head start and if you get the jump off the line, you've already done half the job.
Ellery knows nailing qualifying will give him the opportunity to repeat his giant-killing performance from Sandown last year and is itching for the chance.
Currently he lies in 13th position in the championship behind Glenn Seton, Todd Kelly and Garth Tander but, he says, he's only 109 points off tenth spot and he wants to get there before too long.
Oran Park has mixed memories for Ellery who had an average performance there in 2000, but the Queenslander remembers that Oran Park in 1999 was kind to the Super Cheap Auto team, qualifying 3rd and finishing 5th on the day. He says with a good qualifying spot, a finish at the pointy end of the field is a realistic goal.