With a break between Winton and Darwin, supercars.com is analysing the drivers’ results and performances in this first part of the season. The racing is the closest in history, with nine different winners in 11 races.
Dale Wood, GB Galvanizing Racing Engineer: Nathan McColl
Average qualifying position: 20.9 Average finishing position: 18.8 Championship position: 22 Points to leader: 644 Wins: 0 Pole positions: 0
Best result: 14th both days at Winton; 22nd to 14th Saturday, 21st to 14th Sunday.
Low point: Couldn’t come to grips with the Nissan Altima at the Clipsal 500 and it’s been slow progress since then.
For: If a sense of humour counted toward the drivers’ championship Wood would be a front-running contender. But instead he’s needed that trait to keep him going through some tough times during this year’s transition from Brad Jones Racing to Nissan Motorsport and Commodore to Altima. As well as funny, Wood is a stayer. He suffered a brutal initiation in the main game with the Kellys back in their privateer Holden days, fought back to win the Dunlop development series and finished on the rostrum at Winton in his first year at BJR. Has gradually got to grips with the Altima, with Winton being a real breakthrough. Hopefully the tough times in transition will soon make way for some worthy results for him, his loyal group of sponsors and the team.
Against: Wood is frustrated with his form in the GB Galvanizing Nissan, admitting after Winton: “There’s some really important stuff I need to go away and work on. It’s stuff that I’m doing in the race like maintaining the pace of the car in the critical times. And I don’t think I’m doing that now.”
The team: The Altima is showing its best form since its introduction to the championship – bar that unexpected and un-repeated win at Winton in 2013 by James Moffat – with Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly all posting good results and running in and around the top 10.
So Wood knows if he is good enough and he can find a set-up he likes then the car can get him much closer to the front than he is now.
Rating: D+ Everyone wants Wood to succeed, and the challenge now lies ahead of him for 2016.