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DJR nonplussed on battle for intra-team supremacy

A MERE 22 points separate Shell V-Power Racing Team drivers Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale heading into the season-ending Adelaide 500.

It’s one of three battles for intra-team supremacy yet to be formally decided and by far the closest (Matt Stone Racing’s drivers are split by 117 points and Team 18’s by 286 with a maximum of 300 still in play).

After all, they do say the number one rule in motorsport is to beat your teammate.

Davison has comfortably clinched the honours in head-to-head qualifying, leading 20-12.

The veteran finished the 2021 championship in fourth overall compared to De Pasquale’s sixth, making for five successive seasons the #17 car has led the Dick Johnson Racing charge (the last time it didn’t was 2016 when Fabian Coulthard pipped Scott Pye).

Davison himself has technically not been beaten by a teammate since 2012, although that statistic depends on counting 23Red Racing as a standalone squad and not part of Tickford Racing.

Only once before has De Pasquale outscored a teammate over the course of a season, bettering David Reynolds in their last campaign together at Erebus Motorsport in 2020.

Davison holds the slight advantage going in… not that it’s a matter on DJR team principal Ben Croke’s radar.

“We’d rather both of them be further up the championship,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s not really something we’d focus on or worry about at this point in time.

“For us, fourth and fifth or fifth and fourth, it doesn’t really matter.

“Our aim is to go there and get a couple of race wins. Where we end up in the points will take care of itself if we get a win or get on the podium.

“Which way around it is doesn’t really matter for us.”

De Pasquale and Davison at Perth. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

Shane van Gisbergen (Triple Eight) is the champion elect, Cameron Waters is close to securing second, and Chaz Mostert is more than 100 points up the road from DJR’s duo in third.

Croke does take some level of pride at least in how evenly matched his two cars are.

“I think it shows that we have got two really good operators,” he said.

“The fact that both cars are up there shows how we evenly prepare our cars and that our two drivers are well matched and on any given day either one is in a position to do well – sometimes both.”

After a couple of years of playing second fiddle to Triple Eight, DJR will look to garner some momentum into next season when it will campaign the Gen3 S650 Mustang model.

“I think the back half of our year has probably had a couple of DNFs that we didn’t really want, in New Zealand and Bathurst and some events like that which has probably cost us a lot in terms of points, but definitely looking to do well in Adelaide.

“It’s where we started the Car of the Future era all those years ago; we’d love to be the ones to finish it on a high and be the team that wins the last COTF era race.”

The Adelaide 500 will be held across December 1-4.

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