Anton De Pasquale has praised the Shell V-Power Racing Team for its quick turnaround following its Newcastle nightmare.
De Pasquale scored ARMOR ALL Pole Position for Thursday’s race at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint, and finished sixth.
It was a far cry to the Thrifty Newcastle 500, where neither Shell V-Power Mustang scored a top 10 in any qualifying or race sessions.
De Pasquale led the field to Turn 1 on Thursday, but was easily passed by eventual winner Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) on lap 3.
He was later passed by Brodie Kostecki (#99 Coca-Cola Camaro) before dropping down the order during the stops.
Triple Eight and Erebus were quick to pick up on the tyre rules quirk — with the race declared wet, drivers weren’t required to use both compounds.
Red Bull Ampol and Coca-Cola Camaro’s filled positions one through four, with points leader Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) fifth ahead of De Pasquale.
While disappointed to let a win slip, De Pasquale was relieved to be back at the front.
“Although today didn’t end as planned, obviously we were way better than where we were a few weeks ago,” he said.
“So, it’s a big credit to the whole team for turning that around because we went from being on a little bit of a struggle street to one of the quicker cars today, so it’s a big turnaround.
“The guys that were at the front today were all the guys that we were racing at the front at Newcastle, so we’ve caught up to that group and now we just need to develop from there.
“We got lapped in Newcastle, so after today, we’re in a very different league to where we were in Round 1 – so everyone in the team needs a massive pat on the back for that.”
Will Davison tipped a Shell V-Power bounceback in Melbourne, and De Pasquale proved him right — but the next step is getting the #17 to the front.
Davison qualified 15th and raced to 16th, and is yet to score a top 10 result this season.
“Pretty disappointed with the results today but definitely encouraged by the potential,” he said.
“We were certainly quicker than the results showed today, we were on to join Anton on the front row there and had a little issue at the end of the lap.
“So, the speed is there we just had a messy day.
“On the strategy side of things, we had a gamble on that race coming from P15 and it was certainly not the strategy to play.
“Quite a frustrating day but I’ve certainly got hope for the next three days that we can get some good results.”
De Pasquale and Davison are 166 and 183 points behind Mostert respectively heading into Friday.
Davison will start eighth, and De Pasquale 11th, for Friday’s 15-lap Race 4.