Team HIFLEX's Tony D'Alberto is confident his team has made strides forward, despite a weekend of frustration at Hidden Valley Raceway for V8 Supercars' Skycity Triple Crown.
D'Alberto started the weekend in fine form and full of confidence, practicing in fifth place on Friday.
In Saturday's Race 12, D'Alberto qualified 16th (confessing to a mistake on his fastest lap) before taking the strategy of starting the race on soft tyres. D'Alberto managed his tyres well across the course of the 42 lap race, eventually finishing 15th.
In Sunday's longer 200km (69 lap) race, D'Alberto qualified 18th but had his race spoiled in the typical Turn 1 fracas. He was hit from the left and smashed into the side of Tim Slade's Falcon. The incident damaged D'Alberto's front splitter and other panels, causing his HIFLEX entry to suffer a flat tyre at Turn 1 on the second lap.
After pitting for repairs, D'Alberto circulated for the remainder of the race to come home 21st, one lap off the leaders.
The next event on the V8 Supercars Championship schedule is at the Sucrogen Townsville 400 in North Queensland on July 6-8.
TONY D'ALBERTO (team driver)
"It was just one of those weekends. It didn't really go the way we wanted," Tony D'Alberto said.
"Saturday's race was OK. It wasn't brilliant, but we were able to maintain our position while we rolled the dice with our strategy.
"I don't really know yet what happened at the start of today's race. I made a pretty good start, and one minute we were going around, and then it was all chaos.
"I just cruised around after that. The front bar was hanging off it, but I decided to keep going instead of putting a new bar on it. We would have lost too much time.
"We went down a lap early, so it was all about conserving and scoring some points. We did that, but I didn't expect the windscreen on my car to get smashed to pieces by some rubber that flicked up from David Reynolds' car. I couldn't believe it. It has destroyed the windscreen and made it difficult to see out of in the last part of the race.
"All in all, there was nothing wrong with the car or the team – it's just a few things didn't go our way."
AL D'ALBERTO (team owner)
"Not a weekend for our record books, but it could have been a lot worse," Al D'Alberto said.
"Tony did well to avoid carnage, it just happens that some of the carnage followed him.
"We'll look at how the weekend played out, learn from it – and Townsville can't come around fast enough."