Adrian Burgess admits the Holden Racing Team struggled to tune its Commodores at Symmons Plains, but took solace in his team’s well-executed race on Sunday.
Heading to the Tasmanian circuit with a new direction tested at the not-for-points grand prix didn’t pay off and meant HRT was running blind in qualifying on Sunday.
Extensive changes were made to Garth Tander and James Courtney’s cars overnight and they ultimately qualified 18th and 19th respectively.
Courtney said he was ‘embarrassed’ by the performance post-session but he and Tander – who have maintained fifth and sixth in the Championship – raced well to finish in the top 10.
“It wasn’t a great weekend, clearly,” Burgess told v8supercars.com.
“We brought something new this weekend, which had shown positive results at the grand prix with both cars. Both liked it, so we came here with a different sort of package in the car.
“We struggled on Friday and Saturday to tune around it so (Saturday) night we took it out, went back to what you would call a standard car.
“Then … we made the decision we’d go straight into qualifying with a car you don’t know. So clearly that showed in qualifying as well.
“We tuned around that for the race, car was better in the race, but not race winning pace – so at least we managed to salvage two cars in the top six.”
He knows it was part luck, with others ahead striking trouble in the race, but emphasised the importance of reading the play, particularly when the field is so close.
“We’re not bulls**ting people – part of that was due to other people’s misfortunes as well,” he said of the race results.
“But at the end of the day you’ve got to be there, you’ve go to do the laps and deal with all the little things that are thrown at you.
“I think from a team point of view I think we did that fairly well – executed a decent race but with a car that’s not quick enough.
“Fundamentally, a tough weekend, but we learnt a lot and we’ll go back and understand why we couldn’t tune around the package that we brought.
“That was disappointing but we’re not going to roll over and start crying, we’re going to get our head down and keep working, aren’t we?”
Burgess doesn’t underestimate the challenge and says the first step is to completely understand the package the team took to Tasmania.
“We brought it here with the right intentions – we need to understand why we couldn’t tune around it… It was easiest to revert back to something we know and try and salvage something in the race, which we did from that point of view.
“It didn’t answer the questions we’ve got.”
The team earned a win at the Clipsal 500 with Courtney behind the wheel on Saturday, but both team and drivers admit HRT needs to be more than street circuit specialists and maintain presence throughout the season.
“It’s tough for everybody – the guys up the road winning races, they’re no just sitting on their hands, they’re working hard as well,” Burgess said.
“It’s an ever moving goal post, which is a bit of a cliché … but it’s true.
“They’re not sitting there thinking the car’s quick, we’ll sit here and have a nice cruisy year on the beach – they’re working as hard as we are, so it’s always a moving target.
“But we’re confident in the people we’ve got, confident in the drivers we’ve got, so we’ll work harder than the rest.”