De Silvestro: Tassie top 10 achievable

  • 30/03/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

After a mixed start to her second Supercars season, Simona De Silvestro is confident that a maiden top 10 finish is not far away.

The Harvey Norman Nissan driver is 24th in the championship after Albert Park, where incidents in the opening two races hurt her progress.

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It wasn’t all bad news, however, with De Silvestro taking encouragement from her qualifying gains across the four sessions.

She recorded 21-21-18-19 in the respective 10-minute runs, from which she managed a best result of 16th in the final.

Only twice in 26 attempts last year did De Silvestro qualify better than 20th – a 14th in Perth and a 17th in the season finale at Newcastle.

Her best race result remains 13th, achieved twice at Phillip Island, which followed a pair of 15ths at Symmons Plains.

While Nissan as a whole has had a challenging start to the new season, De Silvestro sees plenty of reasons to be encouraged.

“Adelaide was a bit disappointing because we didn’t really qualify that well, but at the grand prix we really improved over the race weekend,” she said.

“We qualified 21st for the first one and ended up P19 for the fourth race. That shows that we’re really improving the car.

“I’m still learning a little bit how to work with my engineer (Chris Stuckey, who joined the team this year) but it felt like at the grand prix we really improved the car.

“Hopefully we can bring that to Tassie and just keep working on that.

“I want to be running around the top 10, that’s really the goal,” she added.

“It’s really difficult, but it’s the goal for any race track we go to.

“I think if we get the car where it needs to be, it’s achievable.”

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For De Silvestro, last year’s visit to Symmons Plains provided some unique challenges during the early stages of her initiation into the category.

The circuit has traditionally been a tough one for the Nissans since the manufacturer joined the championship in 2013.

“I thought it was pretty interesting when I did the first track walk,” she said of the circuit.

“I was pretty amazed how small it was, but it creates a lot of good racing so I’m really looking forward to going there.

“The long straight is quite fast and the hairpin is a really big braking zone, so there’s a lot of lap time you can gain or lose there. It’s a tricky little place.

“Turn 1 is really tricky with the brake bias, you have to change it around quite a lot. I’ve never had to do that before, and it’s one of those tracks you really have to be on top of it.”

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