Jones excited by Hazelwood potential

Andrew van Leeuwen
motorsport.com

Hazelwood was drafted into the Brad Jones Racing squad over the off-season, taking the seat formerly occupied by Tim Slade.

His debut for the team got off to a rocky start, however, a mistake in qualifying leaving Hazelwood second-last on the grid for Saturday's race.

But he staged a solid recovery in the race, a 10-position gain leaving him 13th.

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He was then on for a Top 10 in Sunday's second race, only for the team to miss the fuel drop in his second stop, the additional trip down pitlane dropping him to 14th.

Reflecting on Hazelwood's debut, Jones acknowledged there were some inconsistencies. However he says there was also some "exciting" pace on offer from the #14 Holden.

"Todd did a good job with us," he said.

"We've still got a bit to go, I feel. It's always hard; I remember when Nick [Percat] and Tim [Slade] were [in Adelaide] for their first event it was the same thing, it was a bit up and down.

"But he's certainly got some speed there, and that's pretty exciting.

"We just need to chip away, minimise mistakes and get good results regularly. It was our fault he didn't finish in the Top 10 today, we didn't get enough fuel in during the stops.

"So we've got a bit of work to do. But he's fit in well with the team, I'm expecting good things."

Hazelwood's BJR debut came during what was, at times, a challenging weekend for the now-four-car squad.

Percat showed place, making the Top 10 Shootout on Saturday, but had mechanical dramas in both races. A steering rack issue took him out early on the Saturday, while he clung on for seventh on Sunday despite a snapped rear roll bar, a failed front roll bar, and a defective cool suit and drink bottle.

Macauley Jones finished up with a 17th and 19th from the two races in the CoolDrive entry, while full-time debutant Jack Smith was 20th and 18th.

According to Jones the move from three cars to four did come with its challenges, but he says that was to be expected.

"We had niggly things," he said.

"There's a few things I expected, we went through some growing pains when we went from two to three. So it wasn't unexpected. And there's a lot of new people here.

"I've got to say everyone is working pretty hard at it and I feel like it's alright."

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