Michael Caruso has praised his Nissan Motorsport crew for helping him stay motivated and push forward, as the team continues to search for more consistent results.
Caruso was sitting 21st in the Championship standings heading into the last event, but after qualifying on the front row, finishing on the podium and earning fourth on double points Sundayat the recent NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint, he's now 14th in the order.
The 32-year old insists he is happy at the Nissan team - with his contract extending to the end of 2016 - and despite some negativity on camera after some of the year's earlier races, Caruso is hopeful of continuing his Winton form for the rest of the season.
"You've got to want it," Caruso said. "I think this sport shows every little bit - [there are] people that put in 110 per cent, and some guys that aren't - so I'm lucky I'm surrounded by a bunch of blokes that are very motivated.
"That's what I like to do - have a good group of guys around me that keeps me going. We all keep each other on top of our game. Hopefully we can continue this form for the rest of the year."
Caruso was the best finisher for the Nissan squad last year, coming home 10th in the standings, with a standoutthird place finish at the Gold Coast with Dean Fiore late in the year.
Caruso said the incident didn't cross his mind when he lined up on the front row at Winton and insisted he was not looking to cruise home on the podium - he was ready to challenge for the win if he could.
"I think, as I've always said, I want to win races and not just settle for a position so I think that's been half the reason I've gotten to where I have in my career - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," he said.
After that race at Ipswich, Caruso would not front the cameras - but he hasn't been shy of showing his emotions over the highs and lows this year, particularly in Tasmania, after an awkward situation with teammate James Moffat caused him to double stack and lose significant time.
He believes voicing and dealing with those emotions is a key part of the sport.
"Everyone has their own feelings and I think it's important that instead of holding it in and venting it in the background, I think it's important that everybody ... has their little vent, gets on with it, and we need to press on," Caruso told v8supercars.com.au.
"[In Tasmania] we qualified badly but knew we'd run in the 10-15 area and obviously the pit stop ruined that result - that's always frustrating, particularly when you get out of the car and the camera is right there to see you.
"That'd be no different up and down pit lane - when you work so hard and a result out of your control gets thrown away it's always frustrating and vice versa."
Next stop on the calendar, Hidden Valley in Darwin, is a happy hunting ground for Caruso, who scored his first V8 Supercars victory at the circuit in 2009.
"We saw at Barbagallo that we'd taken a step forward, and to come [to Winton] and make it count was very important," he said.
"What is more important is to carry that forward to Darwin and continue to push forward in the Championship.
"I feel we now have a handle on the aero package changes, and that is positive to bring us towards the front."
Nissan is waiting on engine upgrades, due to come down the pipeline before the Pirtek Enduro Cup - but Caruso is hopeful the team will see improved results prior to those changes.
For more with Caruso, stay turned to tomorrow night's episode of Inside Supercars on FOX SPORTS 506 from 7.30pm.
He will be joined on the show by Dale Wood, with special guest Neil Crompton on the panel and a chat to TEKNO boss Steve Hallam.