Hazelwood hopeful of qualifying remedy

Todd Hazelwood (right) at Tailem Bend. Picture: Brad Jones Racing

Todd Hazelwood believes an “open mind” will be critical to converting test day learnings into success at the upcoming Winton SuperSprint.

The Brad Jones Racing driver has consistently displayed strong pace in race trim but has been plagued by shortcomings over a single lap.

Hazelwood is yet to qualify better than 15th in 11 attempts this season; he has however moved forward from his starting position in all but one of those races.

Having completed a busy test programme at Winton Motor Raceway today, Hazelwood is optimistic leading into Round 5 of the Repco Supercars Championship at the same location.

“With the tyre allocation in testing, you don’t really have many opportunities to replicate what the car is like in qualifying unfortunately,” the 25-year-old admitted, speaking with Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve got to go into Winton with an open mind, be positive.

“We did work on some things that have been making the cars come alive in the race, so there’s some good stuff to build on and I’m positive about it all.

“Tomorrow we have to sit down and analyse what we’ve tested today and make sure that we’re on the right path and hopefully that puts us in a good place for Winton.

“But honestly, every event is different, we probably have had different issues as to why qualifying hasn’t been good for us, so I think it is all there, we have just got to put it together now and have a speedy weekend, which I’m sure we can do.”

Speaking further to the team’s 2021 qualifying form – a far cry from the pair of pole positions they achieved last year at Townsville – Hazelwood was philosophical.

“Look, that’s the art of the game unfortunately,” he said.

“We’re well aware of where our weaknesses are, just unfortunately when the game is so close and all the drivers are separated by only tenths of a second, it magnifies your issues. We have just got to get on top of it.

“We’re doing everything that we can internally; it’s not from a lack of trying, it’s not from a lack of preparation, it’s not from a lack of effort that it hasn’t come together for us yet. But there are positives there.

“You can’t afford to get in a negative mindset in this programme because you just never know when your fortunes may turn and it all comes together. We’re close.”

Kelly Grove Racing’s Andre Heimgartner is recent proof of how things can shift seismically, qualifying on the back row at Tasmania and then taking pole position and victory at the next round at Tailem Bend.

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