Russell Ingall was back on the race track just days after the sydney.com V8 Supercars Test Day, and the veteran was surprised more teams didn’t take the opportunity before season start at the Clipsal 500.
“It was good actually, I’m glad we went out,” the Repair Management Australia Racing driver said of his Winton hit-out.
“I was very surprised other teams didn’t do the same, to be quite honest. I thought there’d be some others there, coming back (from Sydney), Melbourne teams drive straight past the place.”
The 2014 calendar boasts four events in the first six weeks, the Winton 400 to follow Clipsal, the 2014 Formula One Rolex Grand Prix and Tasmania 400 – all the more reason to lock in a test day at the track, before racing there, in Ingall’s opinion.
“This is again why I was very surprised others didn’t take the opportunity – either we’re really smart and others are really dumb, or the other way around! I don’t know which way it is, but we took it. I think everyone’s individual, most people save their days for later in the year…
“But seeing as right up to the Winton round you won’t really get a chance, we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone – that’d be our Winton test as well as the Adelaide test rolled into one – and we can push through and concentrate on the racing after that.”
Teams only have three remaining test days after the compulsory season launch, but given the patchy weather on Saturday, dry running made yesterday all the more important for The Enforcer.
“It seemed pretty logical to stop in there – Eastern Creek was a little bit hard to get decent information out of because of the weather situation.
“Either they (other teams) must be very confident, or whatever, but we prefer to take one of the days and get more running in the car, get me used to the car more, get the team in tune after the break as well... ”
Ingall was happy with the Triple Eight built Commodore, which ran for most of the afternoon after substantial changes were made in the morning.
Pit stop practice was part of the plan, and hot weather was a plus, giving Ingall and his crew the chance to acclimatise before what is generally a hot season opener on the streets of Adelaide.
“Adelaide is so important – I put an emphasis on that round, that if you put in a strong race thee it sort of sets you up for the rest of the year,” Ingall explained.
“Things we picked up on the test day would’ve given us dramas in Adelaide if we didn’t test. So straight away we’ve found it a positive, because otherwise we would’ve had issues there, so it was worth doing it just for that…
“I rated the car at Eastern Creek, but it still felt really good at a completely different track at Winton. To feel good at two completely different tracks is a good sign. It’s a very nice car – I can see how the Triple Eight guys do so well, the car is a very good toy!”
Ingall finished the first session at Saturday’s sydney.com test at the top of the times, 13th in the second run.