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The flaw hotshot rookie is desperate to fix

RYAN Wood is fast, confident and uncompromising.

But there’s one chink in his armour he’s working overtime to rectify before making his Repco Supercars Championship debut next year: his starts.

So impressive has the 20-year-old been that he secured a Walkinshaw Andretti United main game promotion for 2024 after just three racing rounds in Supercars equipment (all in Super2).

Wood claimed a season-high four Super2 pole positions and five victories, but had to settle for third in the standings behind Kai Allen and Zak Best.

Nevertheless, he’s considered by many to be the breath of fresh air WAU needs as it strives to finally move back into the top echelon within Supercars.

The Kiwi though knows he can ill-afford to make life hard for himself next season, as he has done all too often by making slow getaways throughout his Porsche Sprint Challenge and Super2 tenures.

“I feel like I’ve taken a step forward but it’s still not my strong point,” Wood said of his starts, after sweeping the Super2 finale in Adelaide.

“It does make my job a lot harder because I don’t think I’ve converted a pole to leading out of Turn 1 and it was the same when I raced the Porsche.

“It’s obviously a problem with myself and I don’t know what else to do.

“We’ve run through stuff, I don’t know if it’s just nerves or something to do with myself or how my clutch is set up, I have no clue.

Ryan Wood takes the chequered flag. Pic: Supplied/Mark Horsburgh

“It’s just something I need to build on for main game obviously because those guys are gun starters and if I’m mid-pack and doing starts like I do at the moment, I’m going to be at the rear of the field.

“It’s something I really need to work on and a real focus point leading into next year.”

It was another case of losing the lead at the start which fired Wood up to one last Super2 win, set up by a punchy pass on Zak Best into the final corner on Lap 1 of the Sunday Adelaide race.

“It was pretty aggressive but Zak cut the first chicane, which was pretty ordinary driving by himself to be honest,” said Wood.

“So I was pretty fired up, because it was probably my best start of the year, I really wanted to lead out of Turn 1. That’s why I was fired up. It worked in my favour at the last corner and I just punched on.”

Wood drove a Gen3 Supercar for the first time at a WAU driver evaluation in July and will be the first rookie to go full-time without even an enduro co-drive under their belt since Anton De Pasquale in 2018.

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