Wood focusing on his own improvement

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

It has been a big year for 2013 Dunlop Series Champion Dale Wood.

From locking in a Championship drive with Brad Jones Racing for this season, being involved in a significant accident at the Australian Grand Prix, standing on the podium soon after at Winton, andalso battling at the back of the pack, there have been plenty of ups and downs for the 31-year old.

Currently sitting 22nd in the Championship, the driver of the ADVAM/GB Gal Commodore admits he has been going through a "rough patch" of late. However, with the Pirtek Enduro Cup on the horizon and confidence in his pairing with young gun Chris Pither, it's a matter of keeping his chin up and pushing forward in qualifying.

"I think the ingredients are there for sure," Wood said, when asked if he and Pither can feature in the long distance races.

"At the moment, all I can really focus on is what I need to improve - and there's always areas I think everybody can improve.

"I need to find some consistency in my qualifying. We've had some great qualifyings, we've been in the top 10 quite a few times - but 10 minutes later you can back it up and be down in the 20s.

"For me in particular, I need to find a bit more consistency and understanding perhaps of the car for qualifying. If I can get that right for us at the enduro rounds, then I think between the two of us - I'm confident I can run in the top group of the category, and I know that Chris can as well in the group of co-drivers."

Wood said keepingthe right mindset was important; particularly when having a tough run like he has recently.

"It's difficult, because for me, quite often I find the lows can outweigh the highs unfortunately, because we focus so much on them," he said.

"I feel I've had a very tough last two rounds, they have not gone well.

"You could perhaps say that BJR have had a tough two rounds - especially Queensland Raceway - but for me, I have very much been the third car in performance there.

"Like I say, I'm probably in a bit of a rough patch at the moment. I'm trying to work hard and do what I can to improve that, turn it around and get back to having some of the results I had in the first half - qualifying in the top 10, and then obviously a podium would be fantastic.

"Just to be finishing consistently in the top 10 would be very nice to see the year out."

While he acknowledged that BJR as a group has had a lull since scoring wins and podium finishes earlier in the season, he wasn't using that as an excuse and continues to weigh himself up against the team's leading Championship contender, Fabian Coulthard.

"We know there's weaknesses - it's common knowledge perhaps the engines haven't been as strong as they were before - so there's always areas the team are working flat out on trying to improve ... I'm just working on what I can do to run with and be able to challenge someone like Fabian, who has done a good job this year."

But before the teams throw themselves into the challenge of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 looms next weekend - and it's a circuit where Wood, and five others in the field, have not raced a V8 Supercar before.

He isn't bothered by the statistic, having run at the track at the pre-season sydney.com test day.

"I don't go there feeling behind the eight ball more than anyone else though. ... we all tested there at the start of the year, and we're all, I suppose, as fresh as we can be for the place.

"So for me, it's just a matter of improving on my qualifying performances and from there I'm happy enough with everything else. If we could improve that, I believe I can run where I qualify.

"The way the field is ... you need to have the confidence and the head on you knowing you can do the job, and obviously the equipment underneath you.

"As long as I can get all that together, I think I'm capable of running up the front and qualifying in the 10."

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