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What to make of Kostecki’s comeback round

SUPERCARS welcomed its 2023 champion back to the grid on the weekend in somewhat muted fashion across the ditch.

From the very early stages of the event broadcast, it was clear that Brodie Kostecki was not ready (or willing) to talk about the happenings of the past few months and nor was he going to be pushed on it.

Which might be frustrating to those still seeking answers, but the bottom line is that Kostecki is a hardcore racer who just wants to go racing and is now doing that.

Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan had predicted Kostecki would not skip a beat, based on the signs he showed at a pre-round Winton test and his unparalleled way of preparing.

That was always going to be a tall order though, having given away hundreds if not thousands of recent kilometres to his competitors – especially after off-season aero changes that have demanded a slight rethink in terms of set-up philosophies and whatnot.

So, while results of 13th and 12th might have underwhelmed, there are indications that it won’t be long before Kostecki is back at the front.

Firstly, he outqualified teammate Jack Le Brocq on both days – and to JLB’s credit, he has settled in quite nicely at Erebus to be a consistent top 10 presence in the #9 Camaro.

Kostecki’s Top 10 Shootout lap in the dry on Sunday was especially good. He was third out on track but banged in a time that would propel him from eighth to third – 0.0306s off pole – despite track conditions presumably improving as the session wore on.

There were a few hiccups in both races that held him back.

On Saturday, he owned up to an error that he was penalised 15 seconds for.

“I was in way too hot,” Kostecki confessed.

On Sunday, he had a poor start but got the elbows out to ensure only one place was lost. A bungled pitstop dropped him down the field, and then some late rough-and-tumble with Richie Stanaway saw both drivers pinged five seconds.

Even with all those dramas, Kostecki and an on-song JLB helped Erebus gain two positions in the teams’ championship to now be third.

Brodie Kostecki. Pic: Tayler Burke

Le Brocq, whose ever-cheery persona has been welcome amid a period of scrutiny for Erebus, has continued to speak out about relishing the chance to learn from the best in the business: Kostecki.

Reunited with his long-time engineer George Commins and enjoying the ongoing mentorship of Paul Morris – with whom he spent plenty of time in the support category paddock, by all accounts – Kostecki has the chance to simply do his thing.

Whatever the circumstances are, it’s unlikely that Kostecki will be content with taking a half-hearted ‘parade lap’ approach to being back in the #1 Camaro, contrary to conspiracy theories.

He’s just not wired that way, as evidenced by his various vigorous on-track exchanges at Taupō. Not to mention it would make little sense given his contract is up at the end of the season (noting he has spoken of a desire to stay racing in Australia).

Expect the Perth product to be back fighting for silverware sooner than late. Maybe as soon as Round 4 next month at Wanneroo Raceway – the stage of his epic battle with Shane van Gisbergen last year.

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