Davison: Good to feel ‘angry’ about finishing second

Will Davison

Will Davison is encouraged by feeling “angry” about finishing second again, having done so twice at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.

Davison has been through the wringer in recent years, especially so when he lost his drive early last season due to the closure of 23Red Racing.

That blow came as 23Red was finding its feet, after frustrating periods also at Erebus Motorsport during its early years and then Tekno Autosports.

For the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship, however, he landed a return to Dick Johnson Racing and a highly coveted seat in one of the team’s Shell V-Power Mustangs.

While the start of the campaign has not been straightforward, the veteran now has his first two poles for DJR after breaking the practice/qualifying lap record in each of this morning’s two qualifying sessions.

A first win since the 2016 Bathurst 1000 remains elusive for now, Davison finishing second in both Race 13 and Race 14 at Hidden Valley Raceway after being jumped by Shane van Gisbergen at both starts.

He has nevertheless reclaimed fourth in the championship after a tough Saturday in Darwin.

“I’m really satisfied, it was a good day, and it’s really good to feel angry again with second,” said Davison on the post-race show.

“Two poles this morning was really important for me to get that feeling back in the car; I’ve been believing all year and getting stronger but that was really important for me.

“Perfect opportunity… My starts were okay; I normally back myself at starts. Credit to Shane, his were really good; I’m just a little annoyed at myself for not getting it done in at least one of them today.”

The Sunday showing at Hidden Valley was also a stark contrast to that of Saturday, when Car #17 was bundled out of qualifying after just the first 10 minutes and finishing the race which followed in 14th.

“We had a really troubled Friday and I [had] question marks over tyres, and how I need to drive it, set-up… we just lost our way,” he recounted.

“We got knocked out in Q1 in just a clumsy set of circumstances and never got a proper qual read so really was restless last night, I was walking around my room at 3am this morning watching onboard vision of Anton’s pole lap.

“But we made such good changes and I’ve just got to thank Rich[ard Harris, engineer] and all the guys and team for giving me that car this morning.”

He added, “It was a whirlwind last year; big pressure, expectation this year and I’ve put massive pressure on myself.

“To be honest I’m happy, we’re fourth in the points, seventh podium of the year, we’ve sort of been in the top six or seven in pretty much every qual, but we just need to unlock a few things and I really think we sort of did that this morning, just understanding exactly what I need from this car.

“We’re getting there and now I feel the pressure to be in #17, I want to win for DJ [Dick Johnson] and for Shell V-Power and for the all the Ford fans; there’s a big responsibility.

“I’m up to it; Shane is on top of his game [but] it’s a pleasure to be racing at the front but I’ve got to dig deep and we will get there.”

Davison believes that a breakthrough win, in terms of his second stint at DJR after three full seasons there from 2006 to 2008, is not far away with some small further improvement.

On how to challenge van Gisbergen, he said the task was to “Just keep putting the pressure on.

“At the end of the day they’ve got mass continuity. Two new drivers at the team [Davison and Anton De Pasquale at DJR] is a big ask so, to be honest, I’m proud of our form, I’m proud of the way we’re evolving as a team.

“You don’t just beat them [Triple Eight Race Engineering] by fluke. You’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to work for it and we’re right there putting the pressure on, and we’ve just got to keep doing what I did this morning and nail the start and we would have had a win today.

“I’ll kick myself a bit tonight but we’ll just keep trying to tick the boxes and keep working hard and I’m sure it’s not far away, that win.”

De Pasquale had a rougher Race 14, losing time firstly with a stall in the pits then more when he ran off while trying to make up ground.

He finished that encounter in 12th and holds eighth in the championship on the way to the NTI Townsville 500, on July 9-11.

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