Hazelwood: ‘We weren’t afraid to put up a fight’

Despite a difficult final day at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown, Todd Hazelwood claimed a solid 23rd position during Race 16 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The 22-year-old was frustrated after qualifying 27th for today’s 200-kilometre race at Hidden Valley Raceway, but passed a credible eight cars on the opening lap.

Hazelwood was a high as 18th before a 15 second penalty was applied to the Bigmate Racing Falcon after exceeding pit lane entry speed early in the race.

“We had a really good start for Race 2 today here at Darwin, after yesterday’s learnings we knew we had to be quite aggressive in the start of that stint, accommodating of driving style and tyre pressures, so we took advantage of that and it was a great start,” Hazelwood said.

“We went from 27th to 19th [in the first lap] and certainly got the elbows out and pressed as hard as I could, so it was a shame that I got the 15 second penalty [for exceeding pit lane entry speed] and we had to serve that in our pits.

“Overall I don’t think we had the speed to stay where we were anyway, we were falling back at a great rate and our tyre life simply was not good enough today.

“It’s a shame that we couldn’t back up where we got at the start of the race but I think that we showed we could race hard and you know, we weren’t afraid to put up a fight.”

The Matt Stone Racing prepared team will now prepare for their next test day of the season at Queensland Raceway before they jet off to Townsville for the next round.

“We will reset and we’ve got another test day coming up after this round before we go to Townsville … that will be absolutely paramount for us to keep pushing forward with our development and learning of this car and as a team as well,” Hazelwood added.

“The next test day is going to be pretty tricky, we are pretty limited with the tyres that we’ve got for that day, so I think we won’t be testing a great amount just based on the tyre bank that we have … we should be able to get a bit more clarity on the changes we are making between events and hopefully narrow down our window of what not to do—that seems to be the biggest frustration for us at the moment. We’re changing the wrong things with the car, which is then leading us into the wrong direction.

“Over the course of the weekend I think it showed here when we rolled the car out of the truck we made a few little changes and we were 16th in practice, then we fell back to the back of the field come Saturday … it’s something that we need to rectify.”

Hazelwood also thanked his sponsors, supporters and fans for their strong support for the debut Supercars season.

“I’d just like to thank everyone for their continued support during these tough times, obviously as a team we will keep learning and keep building and hopefully we can sooner rather than later get the results that we deserve.”

The Bigmate Racing team will now prepare for their test day at Queensland Raceway in a fortnight before heading north to Townsville for the next instalment of the Supercars Championship.