DJR still ‘right in’ championship battle

Will Davison

The Shell V-Power Racing Team is still in the fight for this year’s Repco Supercars Championship, says team principal Ben Croke.

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup occupy the top two in the drivers’ standings, the former being 412 points ahead of Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters, who sits third.

Waters, however, maintains that the championship contest is not over, and Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison is only nine points further behind in fifth in the standings, with Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert between.

Croke is of a similar mindset, with five events still to come, including the high-stakes finale in the form of the Repco Bathurst 1000.

“We’re right in it, we’re right in it up to our eyeballs,” the man leading DJR at the race track told Speedcafe.com.

“There’s only nine points between third, fourth, and fifth. Shane’s probably 300 ahead of Jamie, who’s a little bit ahead of us again, but one DNF here and there and someone catches up a hundred points pretty quickly.

“A little bit of bad luck or something happens… It’s not an unassailable lead, for sure. It’d be tough, but you never say never.”

Triple Eight has had the wood on DJR, and every other team, so far this year, but that was also the case in early-2020 before the three-month break which also ended with consecutive events at Sydney Motorsport Park, as is the case this weekend.

Then, it was Scott McLaughlin who got the jump when racing resumed, and the eventual champion of that campaign predicted recently that engineers Ludo Lacroix and Richard Harris can pull off a similar feat this time around.

When that was put to Croke, he responded, “Hopefully more of the same.

“We’ve been working pretty hard behind the scenes to replicate that.

“I think we had a good base from what we did here last year and Anton [De Pasquale] and Will, they’re now settled in and familiar with everything and everyone and the way we do things, so that’s definitely our expectation; more of the same.”

De Pasquale is one position behind Davison in the championship, albeit by a margin of 259 points.

The 26-year-old has one race win for DJR, at The Bend, while Davison is the highest-placed driver on the table who is yet to take a victory in 2021.

“It’s just around the corner for him; we keep saying that,” said Croke.

“Anton got his first and then we probably butchered another one or two on him as well, but his [Davison’s] is right there as well.

“It’s within reach definitely, across these few events and maybe up the big hill [Mount Panorama].”

Practice 1 at the Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight starts today at 15:50 local time/AEDT.

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