Matt Stone Racing’s Todd Hazelwood is focused on delivering a race win at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 next month, after a lost opportunity in Sandown and disappointing weekend of motorsport for the young racer.
Despite Hazelwood’s on-track hardships, he is confident in his ability to fight at the front and roll out some good results in Bathurst, October 6-9.
“I can’t look back; I have to keep pushing myself to keep myself in line,” Hazelwood told Supercars.com.
“We have shown we could pull away from the Prodrive guys who have been the benchmark over the last few rounds.
“To be one of the only guys who could take it to them all weekend was a positive for our team because we are only a small team with limited resources.
“We have proved we have the pace to match anyone out there on the field at the moment so hopefully it translates going into Bathurst and we can get the monkey off our back.”
His ex Tekno-Autosports #35 Holden Commodore VF was the fastest on track in Race One and in Race Three. His best lap time of the weekend was 1min.09.8661 seconds.
“It was a weekend of crazy racing but considering we had the fastest car on-track in the dry conditions and in the wet it’s a great way to finish off the weekend,” Hazelwood said.
The 2014 Mike Kable young gun was best to finish fourth in Sandown and currently sits fourth in the Dunlop Series Championship.
Hazelwood emphasised it was a sad Saturday at Sandown Raceway after the iseek commodore was wiped out of the lead by a top competitor Jack Le Brocq in the final lap of race one.
“Leading that race was the most comfortable I’ve ever been in a race situation, I knew the car underneath me could do the job and my engineer was helping to keep me controlled. I really wanted that first race win and to get that monkey off my back,” Hazelwood told Supercars.com.
“At the safety car restart I knew Jack would probably have a lunge but not from that far back, I left him plenty of room and obviously he was going in too fast and ran me off the track.
“It obviously didn’t turn out as we would have hoped, it all ended a bit controversial.”
Hazelwood said he was frustrated with the mayhem on-track in the Dunlop Series because it’s meant to be the stepping stone to Supercars, but instead it was like dodgem cars.
A disappointed Hazelwood said it was unfortunate Le Brocq didn’t get any ramifications because the incident wrecked his weekend. He said not only because he lost a race win, but starting from the back of the pack for race two caused them to get stuck amongst the carnage.
“We had to take the positives out of it and move forward into race two and obviously what happened there was pretty disastrous as well,” Hazelwood said.
The chaos continued into race two when Matt Chahda lost control of his number 18 Ford Falcon FG instigating a multi-car crash in the sand trap on the opening lap of the race. He was not able to finish the race.
He said it will be all hands on deck at the workshop in order to fix the cosmetic damage the accident sustained on his Supercar, with just a seven day turn around before transporters leave to Bathurst.
The 21-year-old noted he regrouped after Saturday’s misfortune and went into the final race of the weekend hoping to salvage.
“The race win I believe was within reach, we had the fastest car on-track and I certainly thought I was more than capable of pulling it off,” Hazelwood said.
Hazelwood admitted it was a small mistake that cost him a race win on Sunday in Sandown, but highlighted fourth was still a good result for the team.
“Unfortunately, I made a small mistake but we know it can happen to the best of them,” Hazelwood said.
He said he has no regrets of what he did or how he drove and will continue pushing himself to the limits.