Tim Slade says his big crash in last weekend’s Supercars opener left him “gutted” but insists he can repeat his strong form at the next event.
The Blanchard Racing driver was making his first return to the main game over the weekend at Mount Panorama after a year on the sidelines.
Slade cemented himself a spot in Saturday’s top-ten shootout after an impressive qualifying performance. The 35-year-old then came within a whisker of snaring a surprise pole position, only losing out to Cam Waters by 0.1s to start the race from second.
Running fourth with five laps remaining in race one, Slade’s hopes of a fairytale podium for the new team vanished when a downshift drama resulted in a heavy shunt into the wall at the esses.
The car sustained significant damage, with the team withdrawing from Sunday entirely.
Using social media today to share his feelings on the accident, Slade says he is disappointed with the crash but hopes to carry many positives forward to the next round.
“Absolutely gutted to not finish the race Saturday and put us out for the rest of the weekend,” Slade said.
“I said many times over the weekend what an amazing job the whole team has done in such a short time and how well they all worked at their first race for BRT. Super proud of them all.
“I didn’t do my job properly, but it’s done now. I’ll get over it soon and focus on bouncing back and being the best I can be at the next one.
“Many positive to take from our first race weekend and there’s no reason why we can’t repeat the speed we showed.”
Team owner Tim Blanchard was effusive in his praise of his team’s start to 2021.
“I kind of said to the boys before the race that we’ve done a lot more than we thought we’d been able to achieve this weekend, so whatever happened in the race is a bonus,” Blanchard said on Saturday.
“Not the way we wanted to finish, but we’re five laps away from finishing in the top five in the first race.
“Three months ago, we had nothing. We didn’t even have a workshop, so we’ve got to hold our heads high.
“Disappointing but it’s part of the process.”
Slade scored two podiums in his last full season in 2019 with Brad Jones Racing. His only race wins were back-to-back victories at Winton in 2016, though his speed over the weekend at Bathurst hints that he could add to that tally at some point this year.
Blanchard Racing is expected to be on the grid for round two at Sandown later this month, albeit in a spare car.