Tim Slade believes a fifth place finish was as good as he and Scott McLaughlin could have hoped for in this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on outright pace.
After an 11-year run as a primary driver, the 35-year-old joined last year’s Great Race winner at the Shell V-Power Racing Team for 2020.
The pair were among the favourites to win and led the early proceedings. However, when rain struck in the first third of the race the momentum swung.
It was at that point that Shane van Gisbergen took control with Red Bull Holden Racing Team co-driver Garth Tander.
They went on to win while the Shell V-Power Racing Team pair were ultimately unable to recover back to the lead.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Slade said fifth was “where we deserved to be” after 161 laps.
“I think if we had track position potentially we could have hung on to a podium position like a second or a third. But who knows?” said Slade.
“I don’t think we had the ultimate pace of Shane or Cam (Waters) and even Chaz (Mostert) was quite quick there. It’s just one of those things.
“You never know. I think track position is definitely very important but looking at the lap time analysis now, we didn’t have the pace of them.
“I think potentially if we were in front and Scotty was in the car, then we maybe could have stayed in front and got a podium.
“It’s just one of those things so you never know. And I guess where we ended up was probably where we deserved to be based on the pace the car had.
“I think the finishing order was the pace that everyone had.
“I feel a little bit better now having looked at that analysis and comparing myself to Scotty and the pace of the other cars that I had.”
The team was also hamstrung two thirds into the race when a Safety Car intervention brought the front runners into the pit lane.
At that time, Slade was one lap short of his minimum required co-driver laps completed.
As a result, the former full-timer completed an extra stint and ended his driving duties with 71 laps to his name before handing over the #17 Ford Mustang to McLaughlin.
While initially disappointed not to stand on the podium, the Gold Coast-based driver said that upon looking at data relative to McLaughlin and the rest of the field, he believed he maximised his performance.
Slade was the second quickest co-driver in the field behind Monster Energy Racing driver Will Davison.
“I was pretty happy with the stints in the lead up to the final one,” said Slade.
“We were a bit unlucky to miss out by the one lap there with the safety car for the minimum co-driver time.
“I was kind of disappointed I couldn’t go with the front few there, but having looked at all the lap time analysis now, I probably realise that we didn’t have the ultimate pace of the front few.
“I guess I feel a little bit more satisfied with the job I did having realised we probably didn’t have the ultimate pace after seeing Scotty jump in.
“We really didn’t have much to contend with the front few guys anyway.”