The Sunday at Phillip Island saw a practice session, qualify session & Race 33. The clouds were looming over the practice session but the rain held & gave Dean more valuable time to adjust & fine tune the car some more.
Dean: “We made some small adjustments to the car after Saturday & were using the practice session to test them out & also make a few more adjustments before Qualifying. I ended the session only a tenth off Will so I was pretty happy with the improvement”.
Qualifying was a 20 minute session giving a lot more time to put down a flying lap & the opportunity to use two sets of tyres rather than just one. Dean qualified in 22nd.
Dean: “My Qualifying time was faster than my practice time so we were still improving but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get me into the [Top] 20. You really only get one lap on greens & on my flying lap I made a small error & it cost me 2 tenths. I was annoyed with myself but we’ve been getting progressively quicker over the weekend so there was still a positive to take away from it.”
Race 33 was a 200km, 45 lap race. After a great start Dean had moved up several positions by the end of the first lap. Two long fuel stops cost them a lot of time in the pits, dropping them back in the field. Dean eventually went on to finish 18th.
Dean: “I got a great start & was really happy with my position. Unfortunately the Erebus fuel stop is a lot longer than the other teams & it cost me track positions. Towards the end of the race, my times were really good & I was quicker than the 3 or 4 cars directly in front of me but Phillip Island is such a hard track to pass on which made it difficult. I’m really happy with 18th though. I came into the weekend hoping for a Top 15 but after spending some time in the car, I knew that was going to be a difficult task. Car 4 has only finished in the Top 20 a handful of times this year so to jump in after only doing 4 races this year, I’m pretty happy with the result.”
“I’m really happy with the outcome of the weekend. I copped a bit of criticism early on for not improving the car instantly but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. It was pretty clear that we probably needed to make some big changes on the car but a race weekend isn’t the place to do that, you really need to do it a test day. Unfortunately with the current rules, the teams just don’t get the test days they need & without those practice sessions on the Friday, I could really only fine tune what was there. I’ve given the team my feedback & there are definitely some changes they can make that would have a big impact. They’re a great team & they really want to push & do whatever they can to improve the cars. They’ve had some success so far & with a few changes, they’ll definitely be up there.”
There’s been a lot of speculation about what will happen from here with everyone questioning if Dean will be at Homebush or with Erebus in the future at all. Dean is quick to clear up that nothing has been decided.
Dean: “I’m getting absolutely hounded by the media, by fans & even my mates up & down pit lane. I can honestly say I don’t know what’s going to happen from here. I got asked to race a car on the weekend & provide feedback & that’s what I did. It isn’t my place to ask the team what their plans are or what’s going on behind the scenes. If the team asks me to race at Homebush, I’m available but as far as I know they haven’t decided anything. In regards to 2016, I still have another year on my contract with PRA so there is absolutely no chance of me driving the enduros with Dave.”
“I’d really like to thank the team at Erebus for trusting me with the car this weekend. I was stoked when I received the call. After being out of the sport full time for 8 years, it’s nice to know that people still think of me & think I can get the job done.”