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Kostecki, Tickford investigating slump

JAKE Kostecki and Tickford Racing are investigating why their combination dropped off during the second half of the 2022 season.

The #56 Tradie Mustang showed promising flashes of speed earlier in the year, none more notable than when he qualified third at the Perth SuperNight.

But as teammates Cam Waters, James Courtney and Thomas Randle progressed towards the front of the field, Kostecki was increasingly left behind.

His season ultimately finished 62 laps early after crashing out at Adelaide’s notorious Turn 8 last Sunday.

Kostecki took ownership for that mistake and expressed frustration at how his campaign had panned out.

Asked if he could put his finger on what had gone wrong, the 22-year-old told V8 Sleuth: “Not really, like that’s the thing.

“It was looking really good, we were qualifying top 14 every race nearly… but the last three rounds just sort of turned to shit a little bit.

“We rolled out a little bit different to the other guys (in Adelaide) with the brake package and a couple of other things which hurt us initially in the first couple of practices but I felt like we started to get on top of it and I felt like we started getting close.

“Both qualifying sessions, it was only a tenth off being in the Shootout which is pretty respectable, just some things don’t show and you look worse at times.”

That change of brake package, plus a recent visit to renowned UK-based driver coach Rob Wilson, are signs that both Kostecki and Tickford are committed to finding a solution.

“I don’t think anyone has given up,” said Kostecki.

“We have got to keep still having a crack.

Kostecki in action. Pic: Nathan Wong

“There’s been times when we have been quick, we have just got to piece it all together. I know it’s in me to do it all.

“I started off going good throughout the first half of the year; the last few rounds just took a bit of a toll.

“We have just got to look at why and work on that, but I know I can be at the front.”

For his part, Tickford CEO Tim Edwards told V8 Sleuth: “We’re digging deep to try to help him, including what you have seen over the last couple of weeks with the time over at Rob’s.

“He’s the first one to put his hand up and say he has got to do better.

“Our expectations are quite high and he needs to deliver for us as much as himself.”

Although Zak Best is waiting in the wings with a Tickford contract for 2023, the Ford squad has given no indication that it will make any changes to its main game roster this off-season.

That likely means another wildcard/co-drive year for Best, with Brad Vaughan and Elly Morrow making up its all-new Super2 line-up.

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