Motorsport: Coulthard anxious to beat fellow Kiwis at home

By Eric Thompson

FAST: Shane Van Gisbergen finished fourth in Tasmania. Photo / Getty Images
FAST: Shane Van Gisbergen finished fourth in Tasmania. Photo / Getty Images

The V8 Supercars will be howling around the Franklin District streets in Hamilton for the final time this week.

After five years the tin-top race is upping sticks and moving, but the destination is yet to be confirmed.

There are three New Zealand drivers in the championship, Greg Murphy, Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard.

Two of those drivers, Murphy and van Gisbergen, have won on home soil and Coulthard is looking this year to emulate van Gisbergen's breakthrough win last year.

Coulthard, through no fault of his own, has bounced around a few teams in his time in V8 Supercars but has never doubted he is good enough to race with the best in the series. This year he has found a home at Brad Jones Racing and pilots the Lockwood Racing machine.

He has quickly found his feet this year and after two rounds sits inside the top 10 and is positive there is more to come from him and the car.

He is now a teammate of Jason Bright at the Holden outfit and is very happy with the decision. Despite being in a new team and driving a different car yet again, Coulthard had a better time at the opening rounds of the championship than he or the team expected.

"It would be very nice to leave Hamilton after the weekend with the Mark Porter Trophy," said Coulthard. "It's not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'll just go out and give it 100 per cent like I always do and see how we fare.

"Obviously the way the season has started with me joining a new team and having to learn how everything works it's not all bad, but it's a whole new learning phase all over again.

"I'm confident and the car's been pretty good this year and I just have to do everything right and we'll get the results." Coulthard sits ninth in the championship and is only 72 points off fifth place. With it being so tight, and 150 points on offer in each race, he could leave Hamilton inside the top five.

"If you'd said to me this time last year in a new team I'd be comfortably inside the top 10 I would have gone 'brilliant'. Now that I'm inside the top 10 I want to go further and get higher.

"I'm looking forward to racing at home again after my success last weekend in the V8 SuperTourer [two firsts and a second] has done wonders for my confidence.

"I always knew I could win races and that just reconfirmed it. I'm just excited looking forward to getting out on the track in Hamilton," said Coulthard.

The drivers get to practise on Friday with qualifying, the top 10 shoot-out and race one on Saturday and more qualifying and race two on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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