Motorsport: Performance pay-off for Coulthard

By Eric Thompson

Fabian Coulthard is confident he and his Lockwood car will be Super V8 winners before too long.
Fabian Coulthard is confident he and his Lockwood car will be Super V8 winners before too long.

Two Kiwis are in the top ten of the V8 Supercars championship as the season heads for the glory rounds at Bathurst, the Gold Coast and Sydney.

Greg Murphy, Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard started the season, but Murphy has had to put his campaign on hold because of back surgery.

Van Gisbergen is still in with an outsider's chance of battling it out at the top end of the leader board by season's end, if he can find a few good results.

He's fifth in series after eight rounds and with seven to go, including the three endurance rounds, van could challenge for the title.

Fabian Coulthard is 700-odd points off series leader Jamie Whincup and would need a miracle to become a challenger this year - but it's fair to say he's had a great year. Anything has to be better than his starring role at Bathurst a couple of years ago in one of the most spectacular crashes the Great Race has seen (see it at bit.ly/QemgxR).

But not being able to challenge for the title is by no means a disappointment for Coulthard this year, as at the beginning of the championship he was yet again in a new team and a new car.

Through no fault of his own, Coulthard has bounced around a few teams during his time in V8 Supercars, but has never doubted he's good enough to race with the series' best.

This year he's found a home at Brad Jones Racing and pilots the Lockwood Racing Commodore.

He's quickly found his feet and after some good results is comfortably inside the top 10 in eighth, more than 200 points ahead of 10th-placed David Reynolds.

"It's never been my decision to move teams and people have had faith in me and seen my potential," said Coulthard. "It's a great feeling to be racing in the top 10 ... and it's awesome for my confidence.

"It's restored the faith I had in myself and it's only the beginning - there's a lot more to come yet. I'm good enough to be here and I've won a few championships [Formula Ford and Carrera Cup] in the past. It's not that I don't know how to win, it's just that V8 Supercars is such a team sport and everyone's got to be on 100 per cent."

Coulthard appears to have found a good solid base at BJR to showcase his undoubted talent behind the wheel. The Kiwi is starting to make consistent inroads in his attempt to get on to the podium and get that elusive first race win.

Although he's happy with his new crew, it hasn't been an easy settling in period. He's had to change engineers and a few other things, but they all seem to be together now.

"We've taken the season in our stride, and it's a good building block and foundation towards getting on the podium. You've got to take these steps as being a top five runner and then you can bounce up onto the podium.

"We've had a few fourths and top fives this year and it's been a solid start and there's still a lot of the year to go. It's probably the best start I've had in V8 Supercars since I've been in the category.

"I'm generally very happy about going racing. My relationship with my new engine is developing nicely and ... things are moving along quite quickly now.

"Things aren't quite perfect yet and there are things the team, and myself, can work on to improve."

News that Coulthard still thinks there is room for improvement in the car, and himself, will have a few of the front runners looking in their mirrors for the Lockwood car come race day.

"I read the Auto Action last week and they gave me an A grade," said Coulthard. "I don't remember getting too many of those in my school days so I must be doing something right."

- NZ Herald

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