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Mount Panorama
Wednesday, May 29, 2024


SHANE van Gisbergen has admitted his surprise at which Shell V-Power Racing Team car he’s ended up battling more often than not this year.

Anton De Pasquale was the qualifying king of 2021, taking 11 pole positions (and six race wins).

The tide has since turned internally at the Ford powerhouse, with Will Davison’s eight poles leading the way among the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship field.

Davison and De Pasquale are separated by just three points after nine rounds but it’s the #17 Mustang which has seemed the more regular threat to van Gisbergen.

“He has certainly stepped up this year,” van Gisbergen said of Davison.

MORE: Davison reveals aftermath of smoke inhalation

“He is a pretty good guy to race, one of the guys I more like racing.

“It’s been surprising the turnaround in speed this year, especially Anton was probably doing better.”

Alex and Will Davison at Sandown. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

Van Gisbergen, after all, had referenced De Pasquale’s #11 as “the good DJR car” in a Sydney Motorsport Park press conference last November – a phrase which visibly irked Davison at the time.

De Pasquale admitted post-Sandown that he needs to rediscover some one-lap pace.

“It was obviously such a strength of ours which we have lost a little bit but that’s all part of the game,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“Obviously when you are trying to get better and stuff, things happen, but everyone is improving as well up and down.

“We’ll try to get some quali speed back at Pukekohe and try to qualify right at the front every race.

“We’re still in it everywhere, just probably not as consistent and able to execute as well as we have in the past.

“Our race car is really good, looks after its tyres, does a lot of stuff right but it’s always a bit easier when you qualify right at the front and when you’re in the mix from Lap 1.”

Anton De Pasquale. Pic: Nathan Wong

Despite observing how Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering’s strengths have swapped to a degree, De Pasquale does not necessarily expect that will automatically mean they’ll be stronger at Mount Panorama this year.

“Bathurst is hard, because I don’t think we can replicate what happens there really anywhere else other than there because it’s just got so much demand on straight-line speed, the cornering over the top and down the hill, braking,” he said.

“All these things which are pretty hard to replicate anywhere else.

“Street tracks, obviously we have done Townsville and a little bit of here which has some similarities but there are some hardcore street tracks coming up (at Gold Coast and Adelaide).

“And then Pukekohe again, how do you replicate that place?

“So I guess we will find out when we get there but the team has had good success at Pukekohe before so hopefully we will have some there too.”

DJR, via Scott McLaughlin, won the most recent Supercars race at Pukekohe in 2019.

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