Struggling with consistency this year, Tim Slade was pleased to find his Freightliner Commodore speedy at the Sydney Olympic Park circuit after teammate Jason Bright’s strong results in previous years.
Slade wasn’t sure what to expect after a hard run at New Zealand, but was glad to find some pace finishing second in the final practice and splitting the Red Bulls in the final session today.
His last event with Walkinshaw Racing in 2015 ended in the fence, but he has shown good form at the street circuit in past years.
“I’m happy with today – I was a little unsure how the car would be here, Brighty’s typically had pretty good results in the past but the Freightliner car hasn’t been as strong,” Slade said.
“It was nice to find out in that first practice, I got on the track and it was pretty comfortable and generated a lap-time fairly easily. We’ve just got to chase a few spots, but it’s good.”
Slade broke through for his first championship race win at Winton in May this year, and immediately backed it up the next day.
The car was quick at Bathurst but a range of dramas throughout the day put he and co-driver Ash Walsh in a difficult position.
Sitting ninth in the championship, he knows consistency is the key and what the team will be working for in the 2017 season.
“That’s been our struggle this year – probably what the majority of people up and down pit lane bar two or three teams (struggle with). That consistency week in, week out has been the biggest thing for us.
“We know on our day we can get a trophy and win races when the conditions are to our car setup but unfortunately those conditions aren’t like that at every single round.”
If sandwiched between the two Red Bulls fighting for a championship tomorrow, Slade said his approach wouldn’t be any different to usual – and he didn’t expect theirs to be, either.
“It’s not as if they’d take it easy because they’re in the championship fight or anything like that.
“Maybe, if someone’s in a position where they have to finish to wrap it up… but it’s not a massively different approach.”
“It’s a world championship (F1) you’d do everything within the rules to win it. Same deal here – it probably doesn’t matter what championship it is, the shopping trolley world championship!”
Slade improved from fifth in the first practice session to second.