David Reynolds has admitted to being genuinely surprised to be fourth in the championship after a ‘terrible’ weekend at Winton.
The Erebus Motorsport driver endured a rare slump in what has been a standout start to the 2018 campaign which saw him return results of 25th and 15th in the two races in rural Victoria.
Reynolds felt he struggled for car pace all weekend although his trouble started in qualifying on Saturday where he could only manage 17th spot, while team-mate Anton De Pasquale was ninth.
This contributed to a disastrous Race 13 that resulted in the #9 Holden being caught up in a multiple car incident on the opening lap that involved Jack Le Brocq and Richie Stanaway.
However, contact from Simona de Silvestro and Todd Hazelwood, after initially avoiding the spinning cars. damaged Reynolds’ steering and forced him back to the pits for extensive repairs, before returning to the track.
The repair failed in qualifying on Sunday, leaving Reynolds last on the grid where he then valiantly fought his way up to 15th position.
It proved to be damaging weekend for the title contender who has dropped from third to fourth in the championship, 318 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin.
“You just don’t want any of these weekends whatsoever, it puts it all into perspective,” Reynolds told Speedcafe.com.
“We weren’t that prepared for small things going wrong; we haven’t had any dramas so far this year, we’ve had a really good run until now.”
“We were a little bit off the pace, we’ve got to sit down and figure out why.
“We’re still positive, we’re still fourth in the championship; surprising to be fourth after such a terrible weekend.
“It’s just racing, you’re going to have good times and bad times, you try and have more good times than bad times and we’ve just had two bad races in a row.
“Obviously, it’s not over yet; we’re a fair way off the lead, but it’s all manageable.”
Reynolds offered a frank examination of where he thought the weekend went awry, stating that errors at the penultimate and final corners in qualifying sparked a sequence of unfortunate events.
“It all stems from having a dog shit qualifying one (Saturday) and the very last sector, I was on a lap on my first set of tyres that would have put me seventh or eighth on the grid and I sprayed it,” he said.
“I got buried in the pack, started 17th, had a crash with someone, damaged my steering, they replaced it, and that’s where it started.
“So, if I’d got those two corners right down at the end there, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”
Erebus team principal Barry Ryan is keen to put the weekend to one side and focus on improving team procedures to help avoid a repeat in the future.
“Hopefully it’s our one (bad weekend) for the year,” Ryan told Speedcafe.com.
“Dave was really hard to have any sort of strategy that works here when you’re stone last.
“We’ve still got to knuckle down as a team, cross our t’s a bit better.
“We replaced the whole right-front suspension arm after the (Saturday) race after the crash and something just wasn’t put together properly and it failed on the first lap of qualifying.
“So, he got one lap on his cold soft tyres and it was just too much involved to fix it in the 15 minutes we had.
“He just had to settle for last.”
“Pace was there, we know that, (but) we’ve got to work on our pit stops a bit, work on making sure we don’t have failures like we did this weekend.”
Ryan did however heaped praise on talented rookie De Pasquale, who scored his fourth top 10 qualifying berth, which he followed up with finishes of 12th and 16th.
“Anton has shown a lot of promise,” he added.
“He raced really strong today (Race 14), raced really strong yesterday (Race 13), did some good moves and passed some really credentialed guys.
“(He) didn’t get done by the stewards,” Ryan added in reference to a coming-together with James Courtney early in Race 14, “so obviously did it fair.”