ROOKIE DRIVER Todd Hazelwood has defied all rookie-odds, finishing an impressive fifth place in the Bathurst Wilson Security Medic One endurance race for Round 6 in the V8 Supercars Dunlop Development Series.
Due to safety cars, the race was shortened to 240km with the South Australian racing from ninth place on the starting grid – battling right to the end.
Pit stops played a huge part on the result, with the 19-year-old having to learn the whole new dynamic of taking a pit stop during a longer race.
“The race was one of the toughest I have ever endured and so much happened during the race,” Hazelwood said.
“The team did a great job in the pits helping us gain a few positions on the track … we changed the tyres on Lap 10, so by the end of the race I was really struggling with tyres but I just drove the wheels off the car and held on.
“Five guys behind me had fresh tyres on with 10 laps to go and I was under immense pressure, I just had to believe I could hold on and make this work!”
Despite not electing a co-driver, Hazelwood was quite impressed with his own physical and mental health during the race.
The rookie was stoked to finish fifth on debut in at V8 Supercar at Bathurst – and also mentioned that this felt like a win to him.
“I’m really proud of our efforts during the Bathurst weekend, we kept the car straight and came home with a strong result,” Hazelwood continued.
“All of this would not be possible without the on-going efforts from the team, my family, sponsors and supporters – I cannot thank them enough.”
The fifth place pushed the teenager to eighth in the championship on 966 points, with Hazelwood currently leading the rookie standings in the Dunlop Series.
The finish also left Hazelwood the highest ranked driver that did not race in yesterday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
“We will now start preparing for Sydney, hopefully we can finish the year off with a good result.”
Round 7 is the final round of the Dunlop Series championship, and will be held at the Sydney Olympic Park circuit at Homebush on December 5-6.