Motorsport: Coulthard releases the shackles for Pukekohe

By Dale Budge

Fabian Coulthard during race 23 of the Supercars Gold Coast 600. Photo / Getty Images
Fabian Coulthard during race 23 of the Supercars Gold Coast 600. Photo / Getty Images

Kiwi Supercars driver Fabian Coulthard has endured a largely disappointing season this year as he adjusts to a new team that is still searching for car speed but there is a silver lining at this week's ITM Auckland SuperSprint.

The 34-year-old signed a contract to join the DJR Team Penske Ford team for the 2016 season and was expected to challenge for race wins as he has done the previous three years while with Brad Jones Racing. But the results have not come and Coulthard finds himself sitting 12th in the championship.

But that silver lining comes because he is out of contention. While his countryman Shane van Gisbergen and other leading drivers think about championship ramifications with every passing opportunity or every time they fight over a spot from now until the end of the season Coulthard only needs to consider the then and now.

"That is the beauty about where I am at right at the moment," Coulthard tells herald.co.nz.

"I can take a few risks.

"For me my championship is done so the best I can do is finish top six or so.

"I would love to get the first win for the team and I will do whatever it takes to do that."

One thing Coulthard would like to get out of the remaining two rounds is to improve their position on the team's championship standings. Red Bull Racing Australia have already secured this title but finishing order determines where in pit lane each team is based the following year and that can make a difference.

"A big ticket thing for us is getting higher in the team's championship so we shift higher closer up the pit lane," Coulthard explains. "That has cost us a fair bit at some rounds this year with safety cars happening and having to blend back into the fast lane in the pit lane. We have given away multiple spots throughout the year in that situation.

"Unfortunately that is how it panned out last year with the finishing order. If we can get higher in the team's championship I think we should leave the year relatively happy."

DJR Team Penske are currently sixth in the team's championship but could move up as high as fourth or more realistically fifth would a strong finish to the year.

- NZ Herald

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