- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Fabian Coulthard believes the developing DJR Team Penske has progressed quicker than expected, after earning a third place finish at the Woodstock Winton SuperSprint today.
Bouncing back from a tough day yesterday, Coulthard qualified on the front row and finished behind Mark Winterbottom in the 200km dash.
After 11 races, the team has earned three podium finishes and two pole positions between Coulthard and teammate Scott Pye.
DJR Team Penske expanded to two cars for 2016, ahead of the original schedule, but has already been a front-runner, with strong results at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix in March adding to the list of achievements.
“I would say we are ahead of schedule,” Coulthard said.
“There are tracks coming up that I’ve had good success at last year – I feel like it’s sort of started from this point in the year where the cars start to get stronger.
“I think if you sat down with everybody at work – Tim [Cindric] and Roger [Penske], who are in America – they would have said the amount of podiums and poles we’ve had at this point in the year is sort of ahead of schedule.”
Coulthard shifted to the team with engineer Phil Keed, who he has spent the last few seasons with at Brad Jones Racing. Neither have worked on the Ford Falcon FG X before, and Coulthard was pleased with the progress they have made.
“Phil and I, we’re always learning,” he said.
“So for us to be able to get results and be learning, I think it’s pretty good.”
After making an error in qualifying yesterday that saw the #12 DJR Team Penske car start 15th and drop back to 17th, Coulthard bounced back today to the podium.
“I made an error yesterday in qualifying you know we were well up on our lap come to the sweeper and we just locked up and ran off the road,” Coulthard said.
“I was surprised, we should have shown a bit of strength yesterday.
“But today has been good, it’s been a massive role reversal, been able to turn it around and to come from where we were to finish on the podium.
“I think it’s a credit to everyone at work, they’ve done a good job.
“We don’t give up and work hard and DJR Team Penske its only in its infant stages so we’ve got a long way to come. I think the light at the end of the tunnel is pretty bright.”
His result was aided by a great start off the line – so quick it was investigated in case it was a false start.
“I’m a Leo, it was those cat like reflexes! Chaz [Mostert] went, and you know I don’t think there was anything in it, I think it was just a good reaction time and I got away cleanly and everyone else was asleep!”
Coulthard sits 14th in the Championship, 389 points behind leader Mark Winterbottom.