Garry Rogers: Premat performance vindicates drive

Fujitsu GRM's Alexandre Premat

Fujitsu GRM’s Alexandre Premat

Garry Rogers says that Alexandre Premat’s outstanding fourth place in the opening race of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship in Adelaide today vindicates his decision to retain the French driver.

Premat’s place at the team came into question towards the end of the year after the rookie spent the majority of 2012 at the back of the field.

After a competitive run in the final event in Sydney last year, Rogers decided to retain Premat for this year alongside class rookie Scott McLaughlin.

After Premat’s fourth in today’s opening race, Rogers says that he is pleased he decided to keep Premat, but said that his Sydney effort in December last year had almost nothing to do with his decision to retain him.

“I was the first to admit I was ready to throw him out last year. I thought about it, decided not to, and I’m pleased with my decision,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com.

“Everyone said it was the Sydney result that changed my mind, but it wasn’t. You can’t achieve what he has achieved in his career and be a dud.

“I think he just got too excited in the category, it wasn’t as easy as he thought and problems arose from that.

“He’s such a good person and a good team player. It’s fantastic to see him do the job, and do it damn well.”

While Premat was the Fujitsu team’s best placed driver, rookie McLaughlin finished a fine sixth and impressed his new boss.

“Clearly, I always thought he could drive, otherwise he wouldn’t be in this team,” Rogers said.

“When we tested him a year ago when we first thought about him, I ummed and ahhed, but he is so level headed for his age. He doesn’t get angry. So many drivers drive you nuts on the radio. They rabble on endlessly and they never get anywhere. If they didn’t speak, they’d do a better job!

“Scott is sensible. He drove superbly today. Clearly, we’ll have some downers – that’s how this business is, but this will give him some confidence.”

Rogers was also quick to praise his team for not only producing competitive cars, but to simple meet the short deadline of building an entire new fleet of cars for the new generation of rules.

“The drivers did an outstanding job, but the guys here and the work they’ve done since October is outstanding,” Rogers said.

“They’ve been working day and night, non-stop. Truly, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if they’d all just walked out of the team – and we’re not the only team who have been working hard. I’m just extremely grateful.”

The second race of the V8 Supercars Championship will be held in Adelaide tomorrow, starting at 1435.

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