Rogers: Volvo ‘absolutely’ V8 title contenders
Garry Rogers says that there is “no doubt” that Scott McLaughlin will challenge for this year’s V8 Supercars Championship title following the stunning debut of his Volvos in Adelaide.
The S60’s performance was the talk of the Clipsal 500 paddock from the moment the cars hit the track on Friday.
Showing top five speed during practice and qualifying, McLaughlin made the most of a front-row start in Race 2 to eventually beat Jamie Whincup into second place.
The Adelaide performance indicated that Polestar’s engine is already a match for its rivals, while the aerodynamic package is being touted as the best in the field.
McLaughlin left Adelaide just 15th in points however after an alternator failure saw his car grind to a halt on Sunday while running third in the closing stages.
The problem was the last in a series of niggling issues experienced throughout the weekend that had also curbed team-mate Robert Dahlgren’s rookie appearance.
“What happened was that there were errors in some of our building processes,” team owner Rogers told Speedcafe.com of the glitches.
“Some things showed up in 70-odd laps that didn’t show up in 35 or whatever on the Saturday.
“We had an issue with a water tank (with Dahlgren’s car on Saturday) and then there was an oil tank (on Sunday) that I think has been positioned incorrectly, maybe too near the chassis rail or something.
“There was nothing major, we’ve just got to work on fixing those things.
“I think there is absolutely no doubt,” he added when asked if the package can be consistent enough for McLaughlin to fight category benchmark Triple Eight for the title.
“The cars have got the speed. There are some things that can go wrong but we’ll deal with them if they come.”
Volvo Car Australia managing director Matt Braid added that he was “extremely pleased” with how the Clipsal 500 unfolded.
“We were confident that we’d surprise people coming to Adelaide and I think we did that to a level that was above our expectations,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“We showed that the car is fast and competitive and on Saturday at least it was reliable.
“We’re really looking forward to the other races now. I think we’re going to be really competitive. Bring on the championship.”
Although the second place finish on Saturday was an outstanding result, Braid added that it was the vocal support of the crowd for the Volvo as it out-raced Whincup’s Holden to the line that was the true highlight.
“Being an Aussie and working with the Volvo brand you have feelings that potentially there is an underdog factor there. I think that was classically demonstrated on Saturday,” he said.
“Scott is a great talent and everyone likes him. He’s got a great character and obviously tying that in with the brand and newcomers starting out is a good fit.
“The expectations weren’t there so I think everyone was willing us on as the underdog. The response from the crowd was just amazing.”
Volvo Polestar Racing will now enjoy the luxury of Albert Park’s four-day, non-championship Formula 1 event on March 13-16 to further refine its package ahead of the second round of the season in Tasmania at the end of the month.
McLaughlin won the final race of the weekend at Albert Park last year in one of GRM’s Holdens.
See below for Volvo Polestar Racing’s video highlights package from its Race 2 performance