The Distiller: Anton De Pasquale, Sandown SuperSprint

Anton De Pasquale reflects on his tough initiation to the 2021 Supercars season following the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint in his exclusive column for Speedcafe.com, presented by Dasher + Fisher.

You never want a DNF, let alone two in the first two rounds of a season.

Obviously the first one at Mount Panorama was my fault. This one was just bad luck with an engine issue on Sunday at Sandown.

It puts you straight on the back foot, especially at a critical time of starting with a new team when you want to be maximising mileage to help understand the package.

And then there’s the championship… we’re down in 17th, so it’s going to be a long year of clawing back points.

But right now for us, it’s just about getting comfortable and making progress bit by bit.

Even through the last few years, Sandown has not been a particularly strong circuit for the Shell V-Power Racing Team and we didn’t get off to a good start on the weekend.

We rolled out of the truck a fair way away from where we needed to be and that left us chasing our tail at a two-day meeting where there’s little time to improve on the fly.

Anton De Pasquale (right)

We were actually starting to get there by the end of Saturday and were in that top five sort of mix but then the slate was wiped clean with the weather on Sunday.

Back to that in a second.

I know from the outside that our results so far might not look great, given the kind of form Scotty in particular had shown in previous years.

We love just how passionate our fans are – it’s what keeps our sport going – and we know you guys will be wanting more.

The morale in the team is actually really good though. Everyone is onboard and we’ll get there.

It’s been a tough start schedule-wise really, for two blokes who’d never driven the car before this season.

Adelaide and the AGP usually have formed the early rounds of a season, and DJR are always strong at both those places.

Bathurst and Sandown on the other hand, not so much.

De Pasquale on-track at Sandown

It obviously doesn’t look that good but we’re learning and we’ll come out of it OK.

SVG and Triple Eight have stepped up this year and it’s our job to get to their level and start battling with them.

Results aside, gee driving Sandown in the wet was good fun. It’s always been known as one of the worst places in terms of being slippery in the rain and that was definitely the case in places like Turn 2 and Turn 4.

The thing was always on a knife’s edge, you were pretty much having some kind of moment every lap.

We haven’t raced in the wet in a long time, so it was actually quite a bit of fun.

Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to again thank Larry Perkins for letting me use the #11.

He’s a good bloke and it’s a number that means a lot to the sport and also has meaning to me from my time racing in Europe, so yeah, that was a really cool way to start the weekend.

We’ve got a couple of weeks to get stuck into it back at the workshop and then we’ll be off to Tassie for another crack at it.

Anton

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