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Heimgartner opens up on disastrous start to season

OVER the past couple of years, fans have become accustomed to seeing Andre Heimgartner flying the flag for Brad Jones Racing at the front of the field.

Not this year – thus far, at least.

The Kiwi is 17th in the championship. He’s yet to qualify better than 13th in six attempts and hasn’t necessarily raced forward from there. He’s tended to be overshadowed by teammate Bryce Fullwood.

It’s a situation that doesn’t match the proven talent Heimgartner is.

So, what’s gone so wrong?

At the heart of the slump is a braking issue that has crept in for all four BJR Camaros.

Andre Heimgartner at the Melbourne SuperSprint. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

“We have a fair idea what’s going on, but there wasn’t much we could do about it this weekend,” he explained to V8 Sleuth.

“For sure we need to go back to the drawing board. At the moment, the car’s set-up window and the brakes, everything is not working how it should.

“You could see Bryce started in a good position there (fifth in the Sunday race) and he was just struggling.

“We all had the same disease all weekend.

“It’s just very disappointing for me. Going into this year, I was looking forward to having a good solid year again and fighting for a championship.

“Last year I was almost fighting for the championship, three-quarters of the way through the year I think I was 300 points off the lead – I’m probably 300 points off the lead now and we’re Round 2.

“It’s an incredibly tough time for myself and also the team, but the dips will be momentarily.

“You have got to remember that it happens sometimes in motorsport, so we have just got to the next few weeks really try to analyse everything, come up with a strategy and chip away.”

Brad Jones chats with Supercars general manager of motorsport Tim Edwards. Pic: Ross Gibb

One minor positive, says Heimgartner, is there’s now no doubt what the problem is.

A major downside though is that he’ll head into his home race next month at Taupō with zero form on the board. Heimgartner starred last time Supercars raced in New Zealand, at Pukekohe in 2022.

“If you’re looking for the positives, at the start of the weekend we weren’t sure; now we’re definitely sure what our problem is,” he said.

“How we fix it is a different thing, but step one, we have identified and now we need to get to work on how we turn it around. I think we will be very strong this year but we just have to get through this rough patch.

“Unfortunately the next round is New Zealand which I really want to go well at.

“You never know what could happen but I’m not sure how long it will take for us to get on the other side of this, but we’re trying our best and working hard.”

BJR sits ninth in the teams’ championship, having finished third last year.

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