Perth a big step forward for WAU after last year

James Courtney almost scored his third podium of the season at Barbagallo Raceway

While admitting the Perth weekend didn’t meet the required standard, Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing has made a big step forward compared to last year, according to general manager Mathew Nilsson.

Barbagallo Raceway appeared to be he team’s nadir last season as a continuation of bellow par results prompted management changes prior to Winton and the start of the process to form the operation’s new Walkinshaw Andretti United identity.

Twelve months on, James Courtney almost gave the team a podium after finishing fourth in Race 12 on Sunday, having been restricted to 13th after being spun around while trying to enter pit lane on Saturday.

It represents a stark contrast to the 17th and 22nd place finishes and struggles experienced at the track last season.

Team-mate Scott Pye finished 12th and 15th with the latter coming after an opening lap incident that saw the South Australian punted into the infield.

Having made a strong start to the season, Nilsson believes his team is moving in the right direction despite some struggles at Perth.

“I think we are tracking along ok,” Nilsson told Speedcafe.com.

“We see Phillip Island as the bump in the road and it’s only one weekend.

“This weekend wasn’t to our standard but there were signs there that we were able to recover and can keep moving forward.

“Compared to last year it is a big step forward.”

The weekend started slowly as both Courtney and Pye were unable to break into the top 10 in Race 11, but Nilsson was proud of the turn around for Race 12.

Sunday’s race saw Courtney holding third spot until the penultimate lap when Craig Lowndes managed to sneak by for the final podium spot.

“Overall as a team it was good to recover from Saturday,” Nilsson added.

“We reviewed it and certainly didn’t perform to our standard but to everyone’s credit we bounced back.

“I’m very disappointed for Scotty (Pye) with the incident on the first lap which put us behind the eight ball on that car.

“(James) gave everything he could (to hang onto the podium) and there was one lap where he hit a ball of rubber and lost a second and that just gave Craig (Lowndes) a little bit of a sniff.

“It allowed him to close in. JC (James Courtney) gave it everything he could and wasn’t silly about it. There was no point fighting and he took fourth.”

The squad will now head to the familiar surroundings of its test track at Winton for Round 6 from May 18-20.

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