Avoiding trouble key for Heimgartner in 2023

Andre Heimgartner. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Andre Heimgartner. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Avoiding trouble is a key goal for Andre Heimgartner in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship after all manner of misfortune during the latter half of the 2022 season.

The Brad Jones Racing driver sits fourth in the drivers’ standings heading into this weekend’s Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint after bringing the R&J Batteries Camaro home in second place in the most recent race of the season, at Albert Park.

He ended up 10th in the drivers’ championship in 2022, despite a horror stretch of four ‘zeroes’ in as many events.

Heimgartner was caught up in the Thomas Randle start line incident at The Bend which not only amounted to a DNF in that race but a non-start in that which followed, before watching his car get taken out of the Bathurst 1000 when co-driver Dale Wood was an innocent victim in an early crash, and then suffering an engine failure on the Gold Coast.

In the final six races which he did finish in 2022, however, the New Zealander was never outside the top 10 and stood on the podium twice, at Pukekohe.

“I think in the past, the start of my years have been sort of the weak link, or the first rounds are normally alright and then last year we had three or four rounds that were real bad for various reasons,” he told Speedcafe.

“Throughout last year I had things like Bathurst, obviously massive points lost; Gold Coast, the engine blew in the next race, points lost; The Bend, had that big crash on the start line which ruled me out for two races, big points lost there; so, I think for me my goal this year is just to try and, as much as you can, stay out of trouble and avoid those things from happening.”

Heimgartner’s race results in the year to date include a second place, two fifths, and a seventh, but also a 16th and 17th in the opening two races at Albert Park, although the headline championship position is broadly in line with expectations.

“Our couple of rounds have been up and down but it seems like other people’s have been up and down more than us,” he noted.

“I think we’re going along pretty nicely; I think we found a few things at AGP that really helped, obviously with Bryce [Fullwood, team-mate] going well and stuff.

“I don’t know if our expectations have changed much; I’m just trying to take each weekend as it comes and we know last year if we continued on, we could have been well inside the top 10 and firing to be inside the top five.

“That’s, I think, where we believe we should be and where Brad wants to be, so we’ll just keep on chipping away and might go up, might go down, but hopefully we’ll just stay around that area and get some good results.”

Practice at Wanneroo Raceway starts this afternoon at 14:25 local time/16:25 AEST.

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