POLL: Has PremiAir’s Jacobson axing been vindicated by Golding?

Then-PremiAir Racing driver Garry Jacobson at Wanneroo

Then-PremiAir Racing driver Garry Jacobson at Wanneroo

Has PremiAir Racing’s mid-season axing of Garry Jacobson been vindicated by James Golding’s performances in the latter half of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship?

That is the question which we put to you in this week’s Pirtek Poll, following a glowing assessment of its latest recruit from Team Principal Matt Cook.

Jacobson was dumped just six events into the campaign, having put in a showing in the latter of those which he all but apologised for via a team press release.

It is thought that his driving that weekend at Hidden Valley had sealed his fate, with the decision coming as soon as the Sunday in Darwin.

It was a development which was something of a shock considering the Victorian had delivered three top 10 finishes out of four at Albert Park barely more than two months earlier.

That was PremiAir’s third event in Supercars since it morphed out of the now defunct Tekno Autosports/Team Sydney, for which Jacobson had also raced.

Indeed, PremiAir was essentially his fourth team in what was to have been as many full-time seasons in the championship, which hardly bodes well for any driver, even if he is a Super2 Series title winner.

In fairness to the Peter Xiberras-owned operation though, Jacobson had slipped behind team-mate Chris Pither in the points standings with the conclusion of the Hidden Valley weekend.

There can also be little argument that his driving in the Top End was ordinary, and Golding did put in some impressive drives once he was installed in the Subway car from Townsville onwards.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport protégé looked particularly good at the Repco Bathurst 1000, when he and Dylan O’Keeffe probably would have scored a top 10 if not for a mid-race splitter failure.

Even with the Gold Coast clanger, when a run-in with a tyre bundle set off a particularly ugly pile-up, Golding averaged 101.1 points per event from his seven race meetings versus Jacobson’s 85.5 from six.

James Golding driving what became the #31 PremiAir entry at Pukekohe

While Golding was thrown in the deep end, he also enjoyed advantages which his predecessor did not.

One of them was the mid-season arrival also of Geoff Slater, even if the Bathurst-winning race engineer worked with Pither initially before switching sides of the garage.

Both came onboard around the same time that the race team moved from a temporary set-up at a PremiAir hire depot in Brisbane to its permanent workshop on the Gold Coast.

Regardless of infrastructure, it would also stand to reason that the crew simply became more bedded in as the season progressed.

The raw numbers say that Golding did a better job than Jacobson, but the comparison is not an apples versus apples proposition.

Indeed, this poll has been inspired by the declaration that the signing of Golding was “the masterstroke”, but one should also note when the man who made that comment joined the team.

Cook, respected for his work at Triple Eight Race Engineering, was himself only new at PremiAir when pen was put to paper with the driver nicknamed ‘Bieber’.

There will be more change next year with Tim Slade coming into the fold in the entry which Pither had filled.

For now though, we ask if the decision to axe Jacobson and replace him with Golding has been vindicated. Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

Pirtek Poll

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