Coulthard: "I've moved on"

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Fabian Coulthard says he has dismissed from his thoughts the disastrous Sunday race at the SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin 400 that dropped him from third to fourth in the V8 Supercars Championship.

Instead, the Lockwood Racing Holden Commodore VF driver is focussed on obtaining the best results possible at this weekend's Castrol 500 Townsville - Driven by TAFE Queensland.

An incorrect safety car strategy call in the Brad Jones Racing pits during the 'double points' 200km Race 19 at Hidden Valley dropped Coulthard a lap off the pace, a blow he never recovered from.

He finished 22nd, giving up 111 points to Championship leader and race winner Mark Winterbottom of Ford Performance Racing, blowing the total gap out to 247 points.

Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup also overtook him for third on the Championship table.

"I have already forgotten about Darwin," Coulthard told v8supercars.com.au. "I was over it that night, I said what I needed to say, got it out of my system and moved on."

Coulthard said the mistake on pit strategy showed how crucial it was for all aspects of the team to be working at their maximum to deliver the best results.

"I can do the best job I can possibly do but if one small thing falls down it reflects badly on me," he said.

"There were 150 points on offer on Sunday, which is a lot of pints to lose. So it could have been managed a little bit better, but you take an element of risk, you think on your feet but that one got away."

The crux of Coulthard's Darwin drama came down to the decision to start on worn hard tyres rather than new soft tyres. He drifted back in the pack further than he normally would and the timing of the pit stop when the safety car first appeared meant he went a lap down.

"There have been things put in place now so that can't happen again," Coulthard revealed. "These boys (the engineers) have worked something out. They will put a sticker on the space station (pit garage data centre), who knows.

"They will have come up with a method so it doesn't happen again."

Coulthard said he enjoys the Reid Park circuit in Townsville.

"It's a track we have gone relatively well in the past. It's 85 per cent purpose-built for us so it is pretty much a race track. It rewards a little bit of bravery, but you have to think about how much you are prepared to attack the kerbs because it's pretty hard on cars. So we need to make sure we get that balance right."

Both 125km races on Saturday and Sunday 250km race will be conducted on hard compound Dunlop control tyres, which Coulthard said suited his Commodore.

"Our cars are pretty good on tyres through a race duration so I am looking forward to it."

Townsville will also be the second outing for the upgraded Triple Eight Race Engineering front-end in Coulthard's Commodore. It's a particularly significant improvement because the front-end is one of the most important engineering freedoms granted under New Generation technical rules.

"I think we are going to need a lot more time with it to understand it and be able to explore the avenues of what it is capable of doing," Coulthard said.

"We have only had one test day with it which was more of a reliability thing to make sure it wasn't going to fail because we build them ourselves, so we will just have to play it by ear and see how it progresses over a few rounds. We have a test day after this where we will be able to try a few more things, but obviously test days are limited and we don't get enough time at race weekends to explore those avenues we need to try."

Car development is a priority for the BJR team as it chases the speed to run completely competitively with the FPR and Red Bull teams.

"We know there is more speed to come from the car," Coulthard said. "There are key areas where we know the car is lacking and as soon as we find that and unlock that we will be a lot closer."

Coulthard said he had no qualms about the new front-end holding up to the rigours of the Reid Park circuit's kerbs, which last year broke plenty of suspension componentry.

"Triple Eight (Red Bull) have been running it for half a year or so, maybe longer. If it wasn't safe for them we wouldn't be running it."

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