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HomeNewsEvans’ insight into BJR’s qualifying struggle

Evans’ insight into BJR’s qualifying struggle

BRAD Jones Racing has been frank in assessing that its return to form is not yet complete, even after grabbing a first Supercars race win in four years.

Andre Heimgartner’s mastery of wet conditions at Taupō to win the Saturday 60-lapper was a popular result, but BJR backed that up by failing to get any of its four cars into the Top 10 Shootout on a drier Sunday surface.

That said, Heimgartner’s effort to start 11th and finish sixth was still better on both fronts than what he’d managed in any of the first six races of the season across Bathurst and Albert Park.

Fellow Kiwi, Jaxon Evans, also fared well in New Zealand but gave some insight into the ongoing search for one-lap pace.

“At the moment it feels like we’re trying to qualify a race car,” said the SCT #12 driver, who started the Sunday race from 21st.

“We are just not getting something right whether that is tyre pressure or how we have the car balance heading into qualifying.

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“On Sunday I felt like we didn’t have the tyre pressure in the right window and these things prove to be quite sensitive in this area, which makes it all that bit harder.

“Just 0.9s covered the field on Sunday and a couple of driver mistakes on my behalf didn’t help, I lost a fair chunk of time compared to Andre, so we could have been closer to the top 10 again.”

Jaxon Evans. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

Evans recovered to 14th at the flag, to back up his 10th place finish in Race 1.

“I was disappointed to be starting in 21st, but knew we had decent tyre life at least compared to others,” he reflected. “We went about our business.

“I struggled in the first stint, but after the first pit stop the car came alive and I was able to look after my tyres to put out some pretty decent lap times. This was aided by good strategy calls and fast pit stops, which put us in a nice spot.

“There are still some things that need work, but I was really happy to move forward and finish inside the top 15. It just makes qualifying just that little more frustrating as if we start further up, we can race towards the top 10.”

Evans is now 18th in the championship, making him the category’s lead rookie and the second-highest-ranked BJR driver, ahead of Bryce Fullwood (20th) and Macauley Jones (23rd).

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