Cook settling into PremiAir leadership role

Picture: PremiAir Racing

Matt Cook was the man hired to lead PremiAir Racing to greener pastures and he’s hopeful that some will be seen this weekend at Hidden Valley Raceway.

The former Marussia F1 staffer arrived at PremiAir Racing from Triple Eight Race Engineering ahead of last month’s Winton SuperSprint.

It proved a tough initiation as team principal, with neither Chris Pither nor Garry Jacobson managing a top 15 race result across the weekend.

“Obviously Winton was probably not one of the better results for us,” Cook conceded, speaking with Speedcafe.com.

“But moving forward, we’re very confident about this weekend. The Triple Eight cars tend to go pretty well [in Darwin] so we have got their set-up and their technical agreement, so hopefully we should have a good, strong showing this weekend.”

PremiAir Racing did make use of a crucial test day between events, braving some frustrating on-off rain through the morning to iron out some reliability concerns.

Now they’ll head into the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown sporting a pair of striking Indigenous Round liveries.

Almost a month since his recruitment was announced, Cook is sinking his teeth into the challenge – one that admittedly is quite different to what former Triple Eight colleague David Cauchi signed up for as Grove Racing team principal.

PremiAir Racing’s new team principal Matt Cook

“This year was always about a growing year, putting the right things in place, the right procedures in place; like you basically have to start again, it is a brand-new team,” said Cook.

“I knew what I was in for. I knew that there was a lot to do and that’s why Peter [Xiberras, team owner] has put me here.

“It’s fair to say it was a very rundown team when it was taken over at the start of the year, with almost zero staff, so massive hurdle but we’re definitely chipping away at it.

“And I think in the last four months, big things have happened in this team in a very short period of time, and it’s always hard to do it on the run.

“We still don’t have full-time people in all the different roles, so trying to take a big swing and do as much as we can on the run is always difficult, but we’re slowly getting there.”

Although results have dried up of late after a promising Symmons Plains round for Pither, and Jacobson’s triple top 10 at Albert Park, Cook has been impressed by the attitude of his drivers.

“They’re both so dedicated and motivated because they know that this doesn’t last forever and there’s young blokes knocking at the door every day,” he said.

“So they’re definitely very keen to stay motivated, stay positive, do everything they can to keep their seat, I guess.

“You never know, next year is a massive year and another reason why I came to this team was all about next year’s car and who knows what is going to happen.

“Nothing is certain in this sport and that especially goes for the drivers as well. At the moment they’re all year-by-year and that’s how it is.”

Practice 1 for the Repco Supercars Championship field at Hidden Valley begins tomorrow from 10:50 ACST (11:20 AEST).

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