Davison’s 1,000 day wait for podium return

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 27/07/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

1,021 days after winning the 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Will Davison was relieved to finally return to the Supercars podium at the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint.

The 36-year-old delivered on a promising run through practice and qualifying to finish second in the Ipswich opener, behind long-time friend Jamie Whincup.

As well as breaking his personal drought, it marked a first podium for Phil Munday’s 23Red Racing, which started as a standalone team in 2018, before moving into Tickford this year.

23Red represented a lifeline for Davison, who suffered a horror final season at Tekno Autosports in 2017, and had been on the brink of stepping back to a co-driving role.

“It was a big opportunity today and I just wanted to get this podium,” said Davison, who had three fourth-place finishes to his name earlier in the season.

“It sounds silly, it’s just been a bit of a monkey on the back these last couple of years, everyone starts talking about it.

“[Phil] actually joked about it last night that I’ll actually get this podium when he’s not here. I just didn’t want to hear it; I don’t want to put the mozz on myself!

“Obviously, the weekend has been great. We hadn’t been out of the top three in any session, qualifying and the race today.”

At home in Melbourne with his family, Munday watched the final laps via FaceTime, enjoying the moment alongside his team.

“I’m devastated he’s not here to be honest, but he was there in spirit. (He) had all the family were there, he’s got a massive family, they were all watching,” said Davison

“He’s a great addition to pit lane, he’s a cool guy to work for.

“He’s invested a lot and we did our own thing last year and made a massive move to change it all up in a short period of time to give me an opportunity to get results, and I’m just really appreciative.”

Davison passed championship leader McLaughlin twice during the race; once at Turn 2 on the opening lap, and later at Turn 3 after the Shell V-Power team opted for an aggressive undercut.

“I made a bit of a bad decision going three-wide down the outside. I knew that once I committed to it,” said Davison of the start.

“I had a bit of a touch with Lee [Holdsworth] on the exit of Turn 1 and then it was all pretty normal, I tucked in behind Jamie and was side-by-side with Scott.

“I was a bit surprised when [McLaughlin] chopped down on the exit there, he obviously didn’t know I was there.

“It wasn’t the aim, I thought it’d be a fairly smooth move out of there, but we had a touch which was exciting.”

There was another moment of excitement early in the final stint as Davison chased down McLaughlin.

“I had a bit of an airbox issue and it cut out, I lost a bit of time and banked right up to Chaz [Mostert] there at the last corner,” said Davison.

“So I sort of panicked there for a second because I just had a full fuel-out in the middle of the last corner. Fortunately it cleared, I got going, I thought ‘I can’t mess around’.

“I got to Scott and thought I’d just try and dive him at 3 before he knew I was going to do it because the tyres do burn out really easily in the front [when behind another car].

“I was pretty relieved to get that pulled up.”

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