Jones praises under-the-radar Evans

30 Apr
Andre Heimgartner led BJR to its first win in four years, but another Kiwi added to the team’s smiles at Taupō
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Jaxon Evans scored first Supercars top 10 on home soil

  • BJR rookie jumped from 22nd to 18th in standings

  • Evans tested a Ferrari in Perth, home of the next round, in March

The efforts of rookie Jaxon Evans aren’t lost on Brad Jones, who was impressed by the Kiwi recruit’s Taupō performance despite flying "below the radar."

In just his third solo Supercars event, Evans raced from 17th to 10th — his first Supercars top 10 — before racing from 21st to 14th.

The results moved Evans from 22nd to 18th in the championship and, critically, second of the four BJR drivers behind Saturday winner Andre Heimgartner, who jumped into the top 10.

Jones, whose team returned to victory lane for the first time since 2020, says Evans has "slotted in like he's been here for a while."

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"He did an amazing job. He's really finding his feet and moving forward,” Jones told the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast.

"He did a great job for us and had a really good weekend, and flew a bit below the radar here. He was strong.

“Really happy with this performance and the way it's going. And he fits really well. The other drivers get along great with him, and he's slotted in like he's been here for a while.

"So, really looking forward to him lifting as time goes on, and getting faster and faster.”

In front of family and friends in New Zealand, Evans — who started his first race in his home land since 2017 — secured a maiden top 10 in just his 10th Supercars race start, and seventh as a solo driver.

Heading to Perth, Evans is determined to find consistency from wet to dry, with BJR considering another pre-event rookie test day at Queensland Raceway.

Road to Taupō Episode 2: The Kiwi Veterans

“After Friday’s practice session we were pretty confident in our car speed, and I think that reflected in the wet on Saturday,” Evans said.

“Sunday morning we still struggled with the qualifying side of things and getting our car in the window.

"We’re not quite there in the qualifying set-up and I was disappointed to be starting in 21st, but knew we had decent tyre life at least compared to others.

"I struggled in the first stint, but after the first pit stop the car came alive and I was able to look after my tyres to put out some pretty decent lap times. This was aided by good strategy calls and fast pit stops, which put us in a nice spot.

“There are still some things that need work, but I was really happy to move forward and finish inside the top 15. It just makes qualifying just that little more frustrating as if we start further up, we can race towards the top 10.”

The 2024 season will resume in Perth on May 17-19. Tickets are on sale now.

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