Long walk from crash to pits

4 April 2012
, CarsGuide
Long walk from crash to pits
I was bitterly disappointed when I got out of the car

The walk from a crashed car back to the pits is one of the longest a race driver can do. My walk wasn't that far from the hairpin to the pits last Sunday, but it seemed like an eternity. To be honest, I was bitterly disappointed when I got out of the car.

But by the time I got back to the crew and collected my thoughts, I was able to put on a brave face and a smile for the cameras, even though it was still hurting inside.

When you have a race-ending accident and you know that you were going to have a tough day you chalk it down as one of those things.

But when you have an accident that puts you out of a race where you had every chance of winning with a strong car, it is absolutely gut-wrenching.

We had pole and we had a car that was very good on the soft tyres for both speed and long-distance wear, so things were looking really positive.

I was putting pressure on Will Davison who was starting to show signs of struggling. I'm not sure if it was tyres or brakes, but he was having issues.

Meanwhile, Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) was putting pressure on us, so I had to keep forging ahead and try to put the pass on Will. That's when I made contact with his car and it broke the front left wheel off my car and ended my race. I don't know who was to blame. I suppose it's 50-50.

It is a difficult and tight hairpin corner. The road doesn't go straight, it bends around slightly. We specifically spoke about it in the drivers' briefing and we try to give each other racing room. Will was racing for the corner and I was hard up against the shoulder with nowhere to go.

I don't think Will did it intentionally. It's just the nature of that corner. The stewards have deemed it a racing incident, so we just need to get on with life. I don't think Will deserves a penalty. At the time you are probably hoping for one, but you take a step back and look at it and put it down as a racing incident.

It's a totally different incident to the one at Adelaide with Todd Kelly where I turned him around and copped a 25-point penalty. That was probably another 50-50 incident and we argued we should have had more racing room, but I've put it down to bad luck and moved on.

Will came and saw me after the race and wasn't sure who was to blame but he apologised for the incident That was nice of him. That's something I've always tried to do; clear the air straight away.

We don't want long-term problems with other drivers. We also spoke again the next day and it was a lot easier to talk then. We are going to be racing against each other for some time, so we need to be on good terms.

You have to put everything into perspective: it's a long season, I still get the opportunity to do something I love - drive race cars - and no one was hurt, so it wasn't all bad.

The positive out of the weekend is that although we struggled for speed on Saturday, we rectified it for Sunday.

The temperature and wind conditions were different and more in our favour and we came up with a better set-up with a new rear spring. It was just a subtle change, but it worked.

I also changed my line in a couple of corners which changed our overall speed. It's a track that's under a minute around, so a 10th of a second can mean two grid positions.

Now that have I the bad luck out of the way, bring on New Zealand in two weeks.