Managing expectations

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/06/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Winton double winner Tim Slade is focused on this week’s CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown and doesn’t believe a postponed test day will affect his Brad Jones Racing team this weekend.

The Freightliner racer cracked his duck last round and heads to an event where he scored a podium finish on 2015 at Hidden Valley. 

Slade’s results last round made him the 73rd Supercars race winner on the all-time list – but the 30-year old says earning the victories has not changed his approach.

“The goal remains the same pretty much – take each race as it comes. I presume I’d be one of 26 guys that goes into every weekend wanting to win races and be fastest in practice sessions and qualifying sessions. So the goal is no different,” he told supercars.com.  

A test day had been scheduled since Winton but was abandoned by BJR with bad weather hitting the circuit. While the team was disappointed, Slade said the day was not critical moving forward. In fact, he thinks the team may be better to wait until the new date pencilled in for August.

“[By] August we will have some new major bits for the car, so it’d be time better spent then,” Slade said.

“I don’t see losing the test day as a massive drama for us – we didn’t really have any new major bits to bolt onto the car or anything like that.

“It was more about validating a few different setups we’ve previously run in the year and trying a few other bits and pieces.

“I’m sure there’s a couple of things we were going to try at the test day that we’ll try in practice at the race meeting, but I think our program won’t change too much given we haven’t tested.”

Slade recorded second in the second of three races last year at Hidden Valley when driving for Walkinshaw Racing, after a brilliant start and drivers ahead tangling in a chaotic race.

BJR is traditionally strong at Hidden Valley, but Slade is reining in his hopes for the weekend.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves with the expectation side of things.

“It’s an event at a track I enjoy – I guess it’s no secret traditionally the BJR cars, I’ve said it a lot of times, they like the high grip tracks and Darwin has recently been resurfaced and provides high grip.

“Fabian [Coulthard, former Freightliner driver] was quite fast there last year so it should be one of better tracks for the year. But it is so tough and competitive in the category at the moment that you can’t really go into every weekend expecting too much.

“Fingers crossed it’s another decent one for us.”

Having had some time to reflect on his result, Slade described Winton as “pretty amazing”.

“It was really a dream come true, it was a pretty big relief to finally make it happen and [I got] a lot of personal satisfaction as well out if the whole deal,” he said. 

“I think the way we were able to do it was probably the best way possible as well – we didn’t win a race from people coming off in front of us and handing us a win or anything like that…

“My head was spinning for the week after. I didn’t really sleep too well Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night … the following week after. 

"That's all settled down a little bit and life’s pretty normal. It’s just a bit more satisfying going to sleep and waking up knowing you finally achieved it.”

The Supercars hit the track at 11.25am for the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown for the first of today's two practice sessions. 

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