For Anton De Pasquale to immediately turn around the start to his 2020 season, he will need to achieve something he’s never done before.
In eight Supercars races at Albert Park, De Pasquale is yet to record a top 10 finish.
Undoubtedly one of the sport’s brightest talents, the 24-year has been widely tipped to stamp his authority this season and become a regular front-runner.
But despite a positive pre-season test and making the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout on both days in Adelaide, De Pasquale enters Melbourne this weekend just 20th in the points.
Poor long-run pace limited him to 14th in the opening race of the year; the following day he was inadvertently spun by teammate David Reynolds, with ensuing contact ending his race on the spot.
“It’s not obviously how we planned to go, we came off a really strong test and had good speed and then didn’t really translate that as much as what we should have at Adelaide,” De Pasquale told Supercars.com.
“No one is really looking back at that now, we’re looking forward.”
The #99 Penrite Racing driver hovered between 11th and 13th at last year’s Grand Prix and is hoping for more 12 months on.
“It’s a little bit different to what we normally do with four races and four qualifying sessions on one run and this weekend we have got the mixed tyre too so there’s a lot going on which is quite cool,” he said.
“There’s going to be obviously be an element of not making mistakes and things like that but then who can get the balance between the hard [tyre] and the soft right.
“There’s going to be a bit of risk versus reward which we’ll see pan out.”
With the battle ramping up between Tickford Racing, Penrite and Walkinshaw Andretti United as the biggest threat to the traditional top two teams, De Pasquale knows there’s no time to ease into the year.
“The field is so tight, we saw at Adelaide a tenth or two makes a massive difference so I think we’ll see that for most of the year,” he said.
“You can’t really be off your A-game or else you’re going to get left behind. It’s pretty intense.”
Opening Supercars practice at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 begins 11:55am local time Thursday.