Dick Johnson Racing getting stronger

Coming off the back of three-straight titles with Scott McLaughlin, the famous Ford squad underwent an off-season upheaval that included losing both drivers, McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, and ending its partnership with Team Penske.

Davison and Anton De Pasquale were drafted in as replacements, however the transition wasn’t entirely seamless, DJR enduring a tough run – at least by its own standards, to start the new season.

That included a Sandown round that didn’t yield a single podium result from three races, during which the team came under fire from fans.

Since then there’s been promising signs from the Shell-backed Mustangs, starting with a two-three for De Pasquale and Davison in the final heat at Symmons Plains.

The Bend then saw De Pasquale take his first win for DJR, learning home Davison in an impressive one-two.

He almost doubled up in the final race, an engine misfire taking him out of the running while leading.

Davison went on to finish that race fourth, and is currently DJR’s best-placed driver in the standings in fourth, 251 points behind runaway early leader Shane van Gisbergen.

While that’s a daunting gap to overhaul, Davison is confident DJR has turned the corner and will now be a regular contender for race wins.

“Naturally [Triple Eight] was going to be strong this year, they had big continuity with no driver changes with Shane and Jamie [Whincup],” said Davison during a visit to the Townsville street circuit build this weekend.

“For us it was two new drivers, [and] with such limited testing in our category you’re sort of testing at the races.

“But we’ve been able to get a second test day under out belt after the last event and we’re only getting stronger. We’re coming off the back of double podiums at the last two events and a one-two result at the last event [at The Bend].

“I’ve had five podiums this year, I’m fourth in the points and I feel like I’m getting stronger at every event.

“At the end of the day we’re going to keep that trend going as the year goes on and setting that bar higher each race.

“Now, realistically, I’m gunning for wins. Anything but that is a disappointment.

“I’m happy with how the season started, we’re meshing well as a team and it’s a real honour to be in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang.”

Davison also opened up on his relationship with De Pasquale, who is 13 years his junior, as the pair establish their respective roles in the new-look line-up.

“Anton is clearly not a star of the future – he’s earned a spot in a championship-winning team,” he said. “He’s clearly got the goods.

“We’re pushing each other hard, but working really well together,. There’s quite an age gap between us, but I still feel like I’m in the prime of my career. I still feel as hungry, if not hungrier, than ever.

“I’m enjoy working with Anton, using my experience to create a great culture. It’s a really good balance at the moment, we’re working together for the better of the team.

“He’s a good young guy and it’s a healthy environment we’ve got in the team.”

The 2021 Supercars season continues with the first leg of the northern swing in Darwin on June 18-20.

The series will then head to Townsville for the second leg on July 9-11.

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