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Thursday, May 30, 2024


TODD Hazelwood has vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure there is no repeat of the costly clash he had with Matt Stone Racing teammate Jack Le Brocq at The Bend.

MSR’s Tailem Bend weekend went from bad to worse when Hazelwood careered into Le Brocq at Turn 6 on Lap 6 of a wet Race 23 last Sunday.

Hazelwood, who was immediately apologetic on the in-car radio, limped home in 21st while significant damage put the sister #34 Truck Assist entry out of the race and even in some doubt for a scheduled test day on Tuesday (August 9).

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“Unfortunately, my car in particular was completely fogged up before the race actually got away,” the 2017 Super2 Series title winner told V8 Sleuth of the incident, which was not replayed on the broadcast.

“Essentially I was using the rain light as a reference of where a car was; once I lost the rain light I was pretty much driving blind, I seriously could not see.

“I swerved to miss Jake Kostecki when I saw him last-minute and as a consequence I cleaned up Jack, so it just went from one disaster to the next, so a pretty sad outcome. Obviously you don’t want to take out anyone, let alone your teammate.

“Having the windscreen and stuff, these things happen, but it certainly doesn’t make for an excuse because at the end of the day Jack didn’t finish because of me.

“Disappointing but these things can happen and I’ll obviously be making sure it never happens again.

“We’ll be better prepared as a team to make sure things aren’t fogged up.

“I was actually praying for rain all weekend to be honest because we were struggling in the dry and when it finally rained and the heavens opened up, the windscreens fogged up and we virtually could not see a thing.

“I have had a windscreen fail before and I’d much prefer to have no windscreen than have fog. Fog is not good.”

Hazelwood (middle) on the Tailem Bend grid. Pic: Matt Stone Racing

Hazelwood was grateful for Le Brocq’s acceptance of the situation.

“Jack was good. I never want to take that for granted,” he said.

“As soon as I got back to the pits I went up and apologised and explained.

“Jack and I get along really good, which makes I suppose those sorts of situations better than what they could be, but it’s certainly never a nice thing to go through. It’s not something you want to get used to, put it that way.”

In the championship standings, the MSR duo have gradually converged to now be 16th and 17th, in Hazelwood’s favour, after vastly differing starts to the season.

Hazelwood racked up seven top 10 finishes in the opening four rounds but has not recorded a qualifying or race result of better than 15th since.

Le Brocq meanwhile was dead last in the points as recently as the midway point of the Perth SuperNight before enjoying an upturn in form and luck.

“There’s always reasons as to why but definitely have lost our mojo that we had going our way at the start of the season,” Hazelwood said of the Car #35 side of the garage.

“We have just got to keep learning, keep building. I think the last few rounds has been a reminder that there’s still room for growth in our program and we need to keep working and pushing harder, it’s as simple as that.

“There’s a couple of little simple things on the car that have held us back in the last couple of rounds.

“Probably The Bend was just a pure outright lack of pace in general, so I think going to Sandown now is a great opportunity for us as a team to get our year back on track.

“It’s obviously well documented that Triple Eight normally go very well at Sandown and I feel like it’s a track I’ve had pretty good success at in the past.

“[Based on] all of the circuits that we have been strong at this year, I would certainly say that Sandown should be a golden opportunity for us, so I’m pretty keen to put this little form slump behind us and ensure that we can finish the back half of the season really strong.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering has not been beaten at Sandown since 2017, when Cameron Waters and Richie Stanaway combined to win the 500km enduro for Prodrive Racing Australia.

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