Hazelwood left bruised after Townsville debut

Todd Hazelwood has finished 21st in Race 17 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, after a ‘tough day in the office’ at Townsville.

The 22-year-old started from 22nd position and was looking strong to continue to move forward, but early contact halted that progress for the Bigmate Racing driver.

Hazelwood suffered injuries to his shoulder from the contact and also carried bent steering throughout the race, but the South Australian continued and pushed forward to finish the 70-lap race.

“It was a rough sequence of events for us at the Bigmate Racing team today, we got pushed around quite badly … we had an up-and-down start and lost a few there, I just got boxed in and was in the inside and couldn’t get around anyone, but then by Lap 2 I was able to push forward and make quite a few spots up again,” Hazelwood said of the start of the race.

“We were looking quite pacy and our tyre life was really good, which is promising because our tyre life hasn’t been the strongest at recent events, so it was good to be racy and trying to pass a few people.

“I tried to make the most of the advantage when I was following Scott Pye and trying to follow him through … as he made a move on Simona [De Silvestro] I had the overlap on her and she just drove me straight into the fence.

“We collected wheels and it actually popped out my shoulder, so I went from being just outside the top 20 to last.

“It took about half a lap to get it back in, so I had to loosen the belts and roll my shoulder back in. It was quite a bit of pain, but we pushed through and we were able to consolidate and get some points back after what was a pretty tough day in the office.”

Despite today’s race result, Hazelwood remains optimistic about the changes the Matt Stone Racing crew have made to the car and hopes that tomorrow can bring a clean day of racing.

“All-in-all today we had great pit stops, we had a great strategy and we had a fast car, which to be honest we haven’t really had at all this season,” Hazelwood added.

“It was great to be able to race up behind people, pass them and pull off some moves as well as rectifying a few issues that we’ve been struggling with over the last couple of rounds.

“I think it’s been a promising day for the team—we haven’t got it perfect yet—but I think come qualifying tomorrow we’ll be able to do a much better job and I’m confident we will be able to get inside the top 20.”

“Pumped for tomorrow—just got to get this shoulder on ice and hopefully rest it up and we’ll be okay for tomorrow.”

The Watpac Townsville 400 will host qualifying and Race 18 of the Championship tomorrow.