‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ for DJR

Dick Johnson Racing

Will Davison in the #17 Dick Johnson Racing Ford Mustang. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

There is “light at the end of the tunnel” for the Shell V-Power Racing Team, according to CEO David Noble.

Dick Johnson Racing has finished in the top two of the Supercars teams’ championship for the last six seasons, but sits seventh after the first three events of 2023.

Still, that represents incremental improvement after neither Will Davison nor Anton De Pasquale qualified or finished in the top 10 at all during the Newcastle season-opener.

“[It was a] Mixed Bag, wasn’t it?” Noble said to Speedcafe of the Stapylton outfit’s performance last time out at the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint.

“You know, there were some good signs – quali was good with Anton, Will finished in the top 10, three times over the weekend – so we think there’s definitely some light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s just, again, the sensitivity of the changes; we’re still trying to get our heads around it a little bit and just what tools we can use.”

Davison went 7-7-5 in qualifying last time out at Wanneroo Raceway and converted that into finishes of 8-6-7, with the #17 Ford Mustang pilot now ninth in the drivers’ championship.

De Pasquale finished no higher than 13th all weekend but did qualify third for Race 8, before incurring a penalty for clattering into David Reynolds when he attempted a pass, with the ensuing penalty helping to consign him to 22nd at the chequered flag.

He is now mired in 19th on the points table, but is said to be in reasonable spirits.

“Look, he’s really resilient,” remarked Noble.

“He’s certainly very determined; he’s working with Ludo [Lacroix, Race Engineer] really closely in the set-up.

“He’d like it to be set a bit better so that we have more consistency in the racing but, look, he’s really resilient, cares a lot about his driving, and we have to make sure we can deliver him a product that can get him up in the podiums.”

Noble also gave a positive initial assessment of the new Ford engine map which was introduced in time for the Wanneroo event in a bid to improve the driveability of the Coyote-based powerplant.

“I think it’s heading in the right direction; no doubt,” he declared, post-Race 9.

“To get the change for the weekend was really good. I haven’t done on a massive debrief with the drivers over the weekend, but from what I’ve heard from the engineers, there’s some certainly some positivity of how they’ve felt the driveability of the car’s been.”

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship continues at Symmons Plains with the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint from May 19-21.

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