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Rookies shine in Supercars pre-season test

Mat Coch

Friday 16th February, 2018 - 8:31pm

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Jack Le Brocq

The five rookies in the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars field began their official main game careers with some starring performances.

Jack Le Brocq, Todd Hazelwood, and Anton de Pasquale all put in strong shifts on their first day in the office, with Le Brocq ending the day inside the Top 10.

The Tekno Autosports driver recorded the seventh best time in the morning session, before improving by more than half a second later in the day to end proceedings eighth best.

Le Brocq though is wary of reading too much into the standings, despite being the only rookie inside the ten.

“It has been a really productive day and we did everything we need to do,” he said.

“The car felt pretty good and it is good to be in the top 10, but it is hard to say if that is a true top 10.”

“I’m starting to feel comfortable. The biggest thing is understanding the new car and how to go about setting it up and leading the guys in the right direction.”

Le Brocq took in a rookie day at Queensland Raceway ahead of the official test, where he banked his first laps in a Holden Supercar having campaigned a Nissan Altima and two iterations of Ford Falcon during his Super2 career.

Todd Hazelwood

Hazelwood was similarly impressive, holding down the fourth fastest time deep into the afternoon session, before the late flurry following a red flag for James Golding saw the Matt Stone Racing driver fall to 13th for the session, and 14th for the day.

“After today I think we can walk away reasonably confident,” Hazelwood said.

“Our pace on the soft tyre particularly was really good.

“In that little shootout towards the end there we went the wrong way with setup, but that’s what testing is all about, it’s not all about fastest today.

“We’re trying to use all the learnings that we had from the last couple of years working with the Triple Eight base, linear spring Commodore to a twin-spring Falcon,” he added.

“It does everything so different – for us it’s very much just trial and error.”

Though he ultimately finished the day with just the 21st best time, Anton de Pasquale made a strong start to his main game career by setting a time inside the Top 10 in the opening session.

The Erebus Motorsport driver shared the car with Super2 Series driver Will Brown, who will join the team for the Pirtek Enduro Cup later in the year, and set a time within a tenth of team-mate David Reynolds’ best effort.

Richie Stanaway also kept his powder dry, quietly banking laps and experience in the car ahead of his debut season to end the day 24th quickest.

Golding by contrast endured a baptism of fire when his day was curtailed with a front splitter failure.

With no spares available, the issue forced the rookie out for much of the afternoon, though he did reemerge late in the day the team swapped its spare remaining splitter onto his car.

A loose wheel ultimately left Golding stopped on track with just 48 laps to his name.

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