One of Dick Johnson’s favourite sayings is ‘looking back only gets you a sore neck’. Champion Jamie Whincup agrees.
“My time in motorsport has made me understand there’s massive highs and big lows, generally all on the same weekend,” the Championship leading Red Bull Racing Australia driver said.
While he felt he had the upper hand in the Saturday race (22) at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360 – having won from Fujitsu GRM’s Scott McLaughlin and Pepsi Max Crew FPR’s Mark Winterbottom – he admitted his #1 Commodore didn’t have the pace on Sunday.
Whincup has often commended McLaughlin’s talent as a driver – and McLaughlin led him home for the win of the first of Sunday’s two races.
“I love talking up my opposition,” Whincup said.
“I like commenting on things that are good about the sport. The young guys stepping up – I really enjoy that.
“On the flip side, in motorsport we tend to blow things out of proportion, good results or bad – and people change their opinion on a subject on one day’s event.
“It’s so important not to get carried away and remember that the Championship is a complete 10 months of work.”
While he was initially disappointed he didn’t fight harder in that battle, Whincup now believes plenty of good came out of the weekend.
“As far as car speed went with the wet start to the race, we lost track position, Scotty and those guys led into turn one and we didn’t have the pace.
“We take a lot of positives and overall are very happy … but things didn’t quite go our way and there are things we need to improve on.”
The final race on Sunday saw Whincup the first victim of the tyre failures that plagued a number of cars throughout the race.
He knew he had an issue with the tyre, but didn’t think it was too serious – before it exploded and subsequently tore away at the front of the car.
While he would normally get off the brake and run wide, he was in an awkward position, on the inside of teammate Craig Lowndes.
“I had to keep it locked up to avoid Craig – it was a pretty bad moment there for a bit thinking I would take my teammate out. Thankfully that didn’t happen and I went back to the pits, and it was race over.”
Whincup wouldn’t elaborate on the dramas that plagued the Red Bull Racing Australia squad at the previous event, the Sucrogen Townsville 400, but noted it was a standalone event when reflecting on his season progress.
“If you take out Townsville we’ve been competitive and there or thereabouts all year. Not as competitive as in 2012 in relative terms, but still thereabouts … I’m comfortable with the year and last weekend’s results.”
Team principal Adrian Burgess believed RBRA wasn’t fully on top of the new car and tyre, when reviewing the season so far, and said the Championship was not a two-horse race.
“Just behind us there are a number of cars keeping us honest who are still in with a shout,” Burgess said.