Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Anton De Pasquale opens up on a weekend of unfulfilled potential in the Northern Territory, in the latest edition of his exclusive The Distiller column for Speedcafe.com, presented by Dasher + Fisher.
Well, we finally got racing again and the weekend in Darwin left me with a mix of positives and learnings to take away.
After six weeks off thanks to Winton getting postponed, it was nice to have a three-day race meeting.
Obviously there was a lot of talk coming into Darwin about the first time using the Dunlop super soft tyre, which needed a bit of getting used to.
We were just okay in Friday practice and even in the earlier parts of Saturday qualifying we still weren't quite fastest, so to get the job done in the Shootout was cool.
Shootouts are always good fun no what matter – like you put everything on the line for one lap with everyone watching – so to be fastest was good. So, our third pole in a row.
Unfortunately the race was over only moments after starting.
To be honest, I probably didn't do the best job into Turn 1 and maybe should have covered Shane a bit harder but still, we should have come out of the corner in second which wouldn't have been too bad.
Instead we got spun and were collected, so we were out on the spot.
With what happened later in the race with Shane in the pits, we would have been in a pretty good position – even though no wants to win that way.
Obviously it's a bit frustrating to have lost a good result for the second straight race from something that was out of our control, but you have just got to deal with it and move on.
Sunday we qualified pretty good – third for both races – but it was Will who was super fast. We're working together well and bouncing things off each other, so that's really good and now the team has five pole positions in a row which really shows the inroads we are making.
The next step is a bit more pace in race trim and for us to maximise it.
On our side of the garage, Sunday was frustrating because we saw another couple of podium opportunities slip away. The first one we had a slow stop with a rattle gun problem and had to settle for sixth.
The second one I completely stuffed up. After coming in for my pit stop, I sort of went a few metres and then it stalled, so we have to look at why and just do better next time really.
It's the first time I've done it all year and it was just at a bad moment. From there you're a few spots back and you have got to push harder to try to make it up and you never do. I ended up making another little mistake and so yeah, came home 12th.
Being at a top team like the Shell V-Power Racing Team, everything you do is a little bit more under the microscope, good or bad. You want people to have an opinion.
There's a couple of things we can clean up but yeah, your first year with a team is always going to be an intense learning year and there's going to be ups and downs.
The good thing is we have got car pace and the potential is there.
Next up is Townsville for our first street track of the year.
We'll be back on the soft tyre before returning to the super soft at Winton.
On that – it's been said by a few people – but the super soft definitely had good grip and was faster but weirdly it almost borderline had less deg than the soft.
It's one of those things I'm sure we'll learn and try to keep evolving into the next generation car.
It made for a fun quali anyway – these cars, any time you have got grip and are ragging them for a lap, it's fun.
Thanks for the support I, can't wait to have another crack at it up in Townsville.