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De Pasquale details great escape

FOR a fleeting moment, Anton De Pasquale’s Saturday at Albert Park looked to be in tatters.

De Pasquale whacked the wall at Turn 8 in the first of two qualifying sessions, hard enough to instil some level of doubt as to whether the #11 Shell V-Power Mustang would be able to continue running.

Any such fears were soon allayed, with De Pasquale returning to qualify 12th for today’s race and seventh for tomorrow – far from a disaster.

It’s a welcome break for the 28-year-old, who faded from second to seventh in Thursday’s race, was taken out on Lap 1 yesterday, and is 20th overall in the championship.

“Obviously when you hit the wall at pretty high speed, you’re going to carry some sort of damage,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“It wasn’t bad enough to stop us from pressing on, but all the toes and that are definitely out. We hit it pretty square but you can’t hit a wall that hard and not have consequences.

“Just got a bit wide and drifted off one of the white lines. I think we missed the window with some stuff in the colder temp, we were definitely a bit stronger in the warmer temp for qualifying.

“We’re a bit further back than we would like or probably should be, but we’ll try to race forward.”

De Pasquale on track. Pic: Ross Gibb

De Pasquale said the hunt for a better race car – which teammate Will Davison seemed to have en route to fifth place yesterday – has been a process of “tuning and trying”.

Although it has seemed another frustrating start to the season, De Pasquale declared the mood in the camp is upbeat.

“We’re just hustling through it and it’s getting better and better,” he said.

“We’re a lot stronger than we were three weeks ago and we’re definitely a bit stronger than what we showed in quali.

“Where we finished up considering how the session started was pretty good and it could have been better.

“So we’ll race from there and just keep working on our race car.”

Matt Payne is on pole position for this afternoon’s 14-lap race, which will start at 5:40pm AEDT.

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