Todd Hazelwood likes what he sees in Blanchard Racing Team stablemate Aaron Love, who has emerged as a rookie Super2 title contender.
Love finished second for the round at the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint behind Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Ryan Wood.
Heading to Round 3 in Townsville, Love is just 75 points behind series leader Zak Best.
Hazelwood knows what it takes to win the Super2 title, having done so in 2017 in a captivating season that went down to the wire.
Love has largely stayed out of trouble, and has moved himself into position to challenge for the title.
Critically, Love’s podium was the first for the Blanchard squad in either Supercars or Super2.
“It’s awesome,” Hazelwood said on the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast.
“It’s amazing for the team as well, their first podium in Supercars and Super2.
“Aaron’s only new to the sport as far as Supercars is concerned, but he’s got a huge amount of experience.
"He probably didn't have the fastest car, but he kept his nose clean, stayed out of trouble and picked up the pieces.
“The unique thing about Super2 is it’s a small series, you can’t afford a DNF.
“He’s picking up points when he’s not fast, but when he is fast, he does a bloody good job.”
Love lost points in Race 1 in Newcastle after being caught up in separate incidents — but has since scored results of second, sixth and second.
Such consistency will keep Love in contention, an impressive thought in itself given 2023 is the Perth-born driver’s first year in Supercars machinery.
Strong results in Townsville could also help Love secure an enduro co-drive alongside Hazelwood, should team co-owner Tim Blanchard put his faith in his young driver.
“We’ve got to keep our heads down,” Love said after the race.
“For the team and myself, it’s a whole new ball game for us. All new guys, new mechanics and new engineer.
“We’ve been working really hard together, I’ve been really happy with the team.
“We have to try and stay consistent, not make any mistakes and keep it clean.”
The 2023 Dunlop Series season will continue at the NTI Townsville 500 on July 7-9.