Pither opens up amid PremiAir Racing shake-up

Chris Pither

Chris Pither acknowledges the pressure is on after PremiAir Racing owner Peter Xiberras ran out of patience at the recent Darwin Triple Crown.

Pither’s team-mate through the opening six rounds, Garry Jacobson, was sacked two days after the Hidden Valley race meeting wrapped up.

The two-car squad’s promising pace failed to materialise into results at the Top End, and Jacobson had a particularly ragged event ending with a Sunday afternoon clash with Tickford Racing wildcard Zak Best.

James Golding is expected to slot into the Subway-backed ZB Commodore, although an announcement confirming as much has been delayed for undisclosed reasons.

Nevertheless, Pither is welcoming the challenge of being in the spotlight at Townsville, citing his own motivation levels as matching Xiberras’ “high but fair” expectations having bought the former Team Sydney outfit in January.

“Ultimately going into the year as a group we all had high expectations and Peter didn’t get involved in this to not be successful,” the 2018 Super2 Series winner told Speedcafe.com.

“That’s been clear from the start, we’ve all known what the expectations are, and I’m working hard to obviously try to move forward.

“Peter’s expectations are no different to mine – I want to be running up the pointy end as well.

“We’ve shown potential at different times, more so in qualifying, so for us now it’s just about piecing the entire weekend together and starting to convert our stronger qualifying results into race results.

“We had a good run at Darwin, especially for Saturday’s race, but unfortunately then got tangled up and got a puncture so couldn’t convert that in the race. But we take lots of positives out of Darwin so we’ll build on that for Townsville.”

Pither has tended to be the team’s stronger qualifier, starting a number of races this year in the upper midfield – including going within a whisker of making the Top 10 Shootout at Darwin.

The #22 Coca-Cola Commodore. Picture: Ross Gibb

He’s frustrated to have not yet finished a race better than 13th, though, a situation that has him just 23rd in the championship.

“We’re all aiming and working hard to move forward and I can only focus on what I’m doing,” added Pither.

“I’m putting 100 percent in to try to make the most of the opportunity that Peter along with Coca-Cola have provided me this year.

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t converted the race results yet but I’m pretty confident that it will come.

“We have got a great team now of guys and girls and everyone is motivated, and we’re constantly making gains.

“Although it might not be obvious from the outside, we’re constantly still making improvements and I’m looking forward to the races ahead and trying to convert those results.”

Next weekend’s NTI Townsville 500 will see a return to refuelling races, with 250km encounters on each of Saturday and Sunday.

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