Best’s ‘make or break’ lesson

  • Dunlop Super2 Series
  • |
  • 24/03/2020
  • By Joshua Makhoul

MW Motorsport youngster Zak Best will take a key lesson into his next Dunlop Super2 Series outing: race starts are 'make or break'.

Traditionally, Supercars' second-tier category and other support classes run much shorter races compared to the main series, which is why the opening lap is of vital importance.

Graduating to Super2 this year after two consecutive campaigns with MWM in Super3, the 18-year-old put in a mighty effort to qualify third on debut in Adelaide.

A slow getaway dropped him to seventh and instantly extinguished his grid spot advantage, and before he knew it, the race was over and he finished in eighth.

Adding to the sorrow, Adelaide is the only event on the Super2 calendar that features a progressive grid, meaning Best didn't have another chance to vault himself back up the starting order.

"Quali was definitely impressive, I was even impressed with myself, I didn't expect to be in the top three at all," the Victorian driver told Supercars.com.

"Our goal was only aiming at a top five, so to beat our goal and start on the second row was pretty good.

"Race 1 was obviously just survival, the other more experienced guys were pushing to get through and get past.

"I was just trying to keep it off the walls in the first race, keep it straight and bring it back.

"I'll definitely have to be pushing hard to make up every spot that I can, especially off the start... the start is sort of make or break.

"The start determines your whole race and how it pans out.

"The Nissan is different to the Falcon I drove last year to get off the line, that's for sure. I did improve over the weekend, I've just got to work on my reaction time.”

In addition to a manufacturer switch, Best is still relatively unfamiliar with the Dunlop tyre Super2 uses.

"Learning the Dunlop tyre over a race distance is a big thing I've got to work on," Best said.

"When to use the tyre and when to save it during the race, and all these things will come with experience and laps.

"The biggest thing would be the Dunlop tyre and qualifying, getting those two laps in on your green tyres to maximise your pace... the Kumho tyre you had six or seven laps and it keeps coming.

"Also time management during [qualifying], like make sure you've got enough time to come in, put another set on and go for one more run, and still have enough time and space to do your lap."

Another takeaway for Best was the fierce nature of the Super2 competition.

"Just learning the way Dunlop Super2 races, it's definitely a lot rougher than Kumho Super3," he added.

"Learning where to position the car and the race pace, because we never really raced a lot door-to-door last year, compared to this year.

"It's very, very close and hard to get a move on, you've got to always have in the back of your mind the tyre and not use up too much of the tyre and then you'll be nowhere later in the race.

"Hopefully we can continue the same quali pace and then sort out our race pace.

"Definitely the next round of the season can set you up for the year."

With the Tyrepower Tasmania Super400 postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Super2 season looks set to resume at Townsville in late June.

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