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Why Ralph hadn’t lost patience with DJR

BE it in business or sport, success has tended to follow Brett Ralph.

His Jet Couriers company is an international powerhouse. Among sporting organisations he co-owns are perennial rugby league frontrunners the Melbourne Storm.

So, Dick Johnson Racing’s rocky road over the past 18 months couldn’t have sat too well with him, right?

Ralph’s 80 percent buy-in was announced in August 2022, taking effect from January 2023.

There’s seemed a gradual decline at DJR since Scott McLaughlin and Roger Penske’s exit at the end of 2020, although the Gen3 project and Ford parity efforts have no doubt taken a toll on more recent results.

Patience and stability continued to be the name of the game with Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale’s services renewed for 2024.

The key off-season change was the return of Ryan Story as team principal, while Ludo Lacroix was farewelled to move onto a new chapter at PremiAir Racing. Story and DJR also took charge of the control Ford Supercars engine program.

Still, things had looked dire with DJR just 10th in the teams’ championship after both Rounds 1 and 2 of this season, before a sudden return to form at Taupō Motorsport Park.

Dick Johnson and Brett Ralph. Pic: Ross Gibb

There, Anton De Pasquale’s double podium earnt him the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy. DJR also scored more round points than any other team.

Whether that form will translate to Perth and beyond is still to be answered, but there is positivity coursing through the walls of the squad’s Stapylton headquarters once more.

So, had Ralph’s patience been wearing thin?

No, he insists.

“What I’ve been looking for all through is persistence in the process, and to see us making headway,” he explained to V8 Sleuth.

“And I believe even during the periods where we were trying to find some form, we were making steady progress all the way through.

“At various times last year, we worked our way to the top of the Ford teams, and once again this year that’s what we’re looking for – that we progress through the year, keep attaining better results as the season goes.

“This is a good start in that direction but it’s a long season and we’re only at the start of it.”

Ryan Story (middle). Pic: Tayler Burke
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