Walkinshaw Racing managing director Adrian Burgess has opened up about former boss and pit lane rival Roland Dane, speaking on Inside Supercars last night about his split from Triple Eight.
An intense rivalry has grown between the teams, as the Red Bull and Holden Racing Team drivers fill the top four spots in the V8 Supercars Championship, and HRT fights to become the top Holden team on the grid.
Burgess has been at the Walkinshaw Racing squad since the start of the 2014 season and was put on gardening leave immediately in '13 when Dane found about the impending move.
Dane was furious about Burgess's departure,saying he had made a mistake hiring Burgess, given his short stay with the team, and calling him amotor racing mercenary.
They are now back on speaking terms - but Burgess will do all he can to beat his former family and reclaim the #1 for one of the Walkinshaw Racing Holden Commodores.
"With Roland, we fell out at the end, but he'd been great to work for, he helped me a lot and I learnt a lot from him," Burgess said on Inside Supercars last night.
"I didn't leave DJR to go there [to Triple Eight] thinking I'm only going to be there for three years. I didn't go into it like that - just a few things changed for me during my time there.
"Yeah, we fell out and he put me in the garden pretty quick - which, I would've done the same thing to anyone else in my position.
"It was a little bit frosty to start with but we're back on speaking terms ... I haven't been around for dinner to his place for a while, funnily enough."
While Burgess respects what Dane has achieved, moving forward the focus is on building a team to stop Red Bull's dominance.
"I've got a lot of respect for him, what he's done and what he's done with his team - and only time will tell if he's got any respect for me or not.
"But to be honest I'm not worried about that, I'm focusing on what we're doing here at HRT."
Having left the UK after stints in Formula 1and Formula 3- where he first met current HRT driver James Courtney - Burgess admitted he was nervous about integrating into the V8 Supercars Championship. But his first home, Dick Johnson Racing, earnedthe drivers' championship trophy with Courtney behind the wheel, and it's all history from there.
Burgess said positive team culture was crucial - one of the important improvements he made at DJR - and something he seems to have developed at Walkinshaw Racing since starting with the team last year.
One of the group's four drivers, Tim Slade - on the Inside Supercars panel last night - praised Burgess's people skills and his ability to read the play.
"Adrian's a guy with a really successful history; I think he's a very, very good people person, so he's good at placing people in the right positions," the Supercheap Auto racer said.
"I think, most importantly, he's a racer, and for me it's really nice to see the person at the top, and know they want to win just as much as you, if not more so.
"He's a very good leader, he is extremely tough on everyone in the team, but fair. For me personally, that's perfect."
"They're still stars of the future, they still haven't really established themselves," Burgess said.
"They've got the talent for sure, those guys can deliver and they will deliver. It's our job and the engineers' job to give them the equipment to do that, but they will be the guys in four to five years time hopefully winning all the races."
And the HRT drivers, Courtney and Tander, who sit second and fourth in the standings?
"They are standouts, and they're expected Championship winners," Burgess said simply.
The team will be looking to turn its recent fortunes around at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway, which is Tander's home track but a circuit he has only conquered once, clean-sweeping the meeting in 2007, his Championship year.
Courtney has never achieved a podium finish at the track, with fourth place in 2009 his best result.