Kostecki chuffed to lead Tickford charge, despite off

Jake Kostecki qualified 10th for Race 16. Picture: Ross Gibb

Jake Kostecki’s maiden Top 10 Shootout likely won’t be one to remember, though there was reason to smile for the Tradie Racing driver.

The Perth-born pilot led the way for Tickford Racing in Qualifying for Race 16 at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.

The #56 was the sole entry out of the Campbellfield stable to crack the Top 10 Shootout.

Team-mate Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy) was 12th while Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol) and James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans) were 14th and 19th respectively.

However, Kostecki’s first appearance in a one-lap dash effectively ended when he went off the road and touring the grass at Turn 1.

“To get into the shootout, I was pretty happy with that,” Kostecki told Speedcafe.com.

“I don’t know if I would quite call it my first shootout, because I didn’t really participate.

“I was on used tyres anyway. I think a lot of the people had greens. I was probably going to be around eighth to 10th anyway.

“I know that two spots is better than none, but I just braked where I did on the green tyre, no later, just had marginal left front lock, so instead of torching the tyre I ran off.”

A recent test day at Winton Motor Raceway prior to the most recent round of the championship had proved beneficial in Kostecki’s understanding of his Ford Mustang.

Add to that, this weekend’s round is the first since the season-opening at Sydney Motorsport Park to feature two practice sessions solely on Friday – only bettering his understanding.

“I’m pretty happy with that,” he said of leading the Tickford Racing charge.

“All the boys on my side have been working really hard for a while and over these last few rounds I’ve been finding my feet with this car and I’m learning this toolbox for this car.

“I always said, after that test day, I learnt more about what this car wants to do. That definitely helped me into going into this weekend.

“I felt like I can find some more form with this car and start to be competitive.

“It wasn’t that I was really suffering, but it was just learning what this car does when you make a change.

“Obviously, as we see in this field, everything is so tight. These weekends go so fast with having to make the right tune for the car to make it more competitive.

“That’s what I was pretty much learning at the test day, just trying things and seeing what it does.”

Race 16 of the Repco Supercars Championship gets underway at 15:25 local time/15:55 AEST.

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