Brown not fazed by ‘odd’ lacklustre pace

Will Brown sits eighth in the drivers’ championship. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Will Brown says he’s not too concerned by Erebus Motorsport’s “odd” lack of pace at Symmons Plains.

The second-year Repco Supercars Championship driver enjoyed a strong start to the season at Sydney Motorsport Park, recording dual top 10 finishes with seventh and eighth.

Symmons Plains wasn’t so kind to Brown, starting off Saturday with 18th in qualifying, which he converted to 13th in Race 3.

Sunday brought the biggest shock to the system though, qualifying only 24th and 23rd for the afternoon’s two races.

Those lowly qualifying performances forced him to fight his way through to finishes of 12th and 15th, making up 20 places over the course of the day.

“It was a little odd to be that far back,” Brown told Speedcafe.com.

“Even since we started running with Erebus, I don’t think I’ve qualified 24th like that with just no pace. Usually, it’s a mistake of my own. It was pretty disappointing.

“Race-wise, we were able to race further up and have a bit better race car than qualifying.

“In qualifying, we’re just struggling. As you know, two tenths is the difference between 24th and 12th.

“Not where we want to be at all, but [Australian] Grand Prix we’ll fight back.”

Coming into the Symmons Plains weekend, the Toowoomba-born driver was seventh in the drivers’ championship.

Fortunately, he only fell one place in the standings by the end of the second event.

Despite the round-on-round downturn, Brown believes it’s no reason for concern.

“We showed we were quick at Bathurst, we were quick at Sydney, we had a few good races before Sydney last year where I was in the top five a fair bit,” he said.

“I’m not worried about the problems here. We finished fifth here last year.

“It’s one of those things, it’s just a disappointing result and we’ve just got to go back and look at the board. We’ll press on.

“Everyone seems to have their tough weekends every now and then. Hopefully, that was ours.”

Brown’s team-mate Brodie Kostecki had an up-and-down weekend.

After a solid showing on Saturday that saw him fall just shy of the podium with fourth in Race 3, he suffered a similar Sunday slump to Brown in one-lap pace.

Qualifying for Race 4 and Race 5 would see Kostecki wind up 23rd and 16th before taking finishes of 19th and 22nd.

“We were teetering on being really good or really bad,” Kostecki explained.

“The set-up window was quite small. We got it pretty good for qualifying and adjusted it for the second phase of the three-part qualifying for Saturday and was able to qualify fourth.

“We ran fourth pretty easily. The race pace was pretty good. Then the sun rose on Sunday and let’s just say it didn’t rise for us.

“It wasn’t a great day. The first qualifying for the Sunday we were just lacking pace.

“We made a few changes overnight trying to improve the car a little but more to try and run with those front guys and it just put it on the wrong foot.

“The second qualifying, when we put the set-up back to what it was, we just missed the track evolution a bit and I’m not to sure if we got it back to what it was, then got stuck by the red flag.

“We should’ve been starting in the top six, top eight. Then the race was just an absolute shambles.”

In the end, a combination of factors made the final day one to forget.

“It was a bit of a shame considering we had such good speed on Saturday,” said Kostecki.

“There were just a few mistakes, one from myself – I sped in the pit lane in the final race – and the race prior we put left-side tyres on.

“It seems pretty stupid considering the track only goes one way, but with the way the red flag fell and the minimum tyre pressure rule, we thought that maybe bleeding the tyres and leaving the tyres on that were bled would result in a better net gain.

“We were just off the mark with that one. We’ll make sure we don’t do that one again. Just didn’t work.”

Erebus Motorsport, which occupies third in the teams’ championship, continues its season at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on April 7-10.

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