Broc Feeney looking to reinvigorate his title challenge behind Triple Eight teammate Will Brown, Chaz Mostert charging forwards with Walkinshaw Andretti United, Hidden Valley, Indigenous round

13 Min Read

After winning three of the first five races, Broc Feeney is staring down the barrel of a points deficit worth a full race win to teammate Will Brown.

The Perth SuperSprint was a damaging weekend for 21-year-old Feeney. Coming off a mixed round in New Zealand, he failed to step on the podium on either day out west — he finished a disappointed fifth and seventh — leaving Brown to fly the Triple Eight flag.

The Banyo newcomer did just that, finishing second and third to limit the damage on a weekend the team was far from its best.

Watch every race of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship LIVE & ad-break free during racing. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial Today >

The championship margin, having been practically nothing for the first few months of the year, almost doubled, from 71 points to a blown-out 136 points.

After months of hotly contested battles between the two, the deficit was enough to baffle team boss Jamie Whincup.

“We’re not sure,” he admitted when asked why Feeney couldn’t match his teammate’s pace.

“We’ll just go away and see where the deficits were and work out: was it set-up, was it driver, was it a combination of both?

“We’re not exactly sure. I think, mechanically, everything’s identical, so that’s just homework after the weekend.”

The season isn’t yet halfway through, but with Brown having rapidly acclimatised to his new team and showing no signs of slowing, Feeney needs to recover some momentum before his teammate can pry his title chance from his hands.


Feeney admitted that the Perth blow to his title chances hurt.

“It wasn’t our best round, that’s for sure,” Feeney said. “It’s one to put behind us but certainly learn from.

“The last two have probably been a little bit tougher than what we’d like. Taupō Sunday was good, but we lost a bit on Saturday.

“Perth was a pretty tough one to take, to be honest. It was certainly an off weekend for us. We just need to make sure that we don’t have that happen again, because it’s a long championship.

“You’ve got to claw back a lot. Going to Darwin, hopefully we can be back in the mix and get some good points.”

It sharpens the focus on Feeney in Darwin, where he’ll need to start consolidating his position if he’s to make serious inroads on his ultra reliable teammate as well as hold back his team’s strengthening rivals.

“It probably doesn’t really change,” he said of his approach for this weekend. “I’m always pretty hungry to go out and get a win.

“Will’s been doing a great job this year and is super consistent. To be competitive and fighting for a championship, we certainly need to not have the bad days that we’ve been having.”

Broc Feeney is looking for redemption. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The Gold Coast native will be boosted by the fact he has form in Darwin. Last year’s NT round was his best of the season, sweeping the podium in all three races, including taking one victory, to underscore his championship credentials.

But that result only underlined what he needs to rediscover in his game: consistency.

Even after an impressive first two seasons in Supercars, Feeney has been quick to identify consistency as his biggest weakness, particularly in qualifying, and despite a much-improved start to this year’s campaign, signs of that same old issue have reappeared in the last two months.

Darwin’s so-called Triple Crown is awarded to the driver who can sweep the weekend, making it a timely test.

“Obviously consistency is a big one,” Feeney said of the challenge of winning the Territory’s unique trophy. “You’ve got to win both races. I felt like last year we probably had a good shot at it. We were right up there in all the sessions.

“To be honest, I’m not going there just focused on the Triple Crown; I’m going there to try and have a good bounce back and get some good results on the board.

“I love going up there. It’s always good fun. It’s a good time of the year to be up there. Normally you can have a good weekend when you’re having a bit of fun. I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully we can get back on top.”


But it’s not just the gap to the front that should occupy Feeney’s mind. He also needs to keep an eye on his rear-view mirrors.

If the gap to Brown ahead is confusing, the points margin to Chaz Mostert behind is concerning.

Mostert has lurked behind the Triple Eight pair all season, starting with a pair of podiums in Bathurst in the opening round and being thereabouts in the weeks afterwards.

But Walkinshaw Andretti United really came to life in Perth, where his first victory of the season combined with a second-place finish to take the veteran to within just 39 points of Feeney on the title table.

Victory on Saturday in WA felt like a weight off the shoulders of Mostert and his WAU team.

It had been a long time between drinks on the top step, with his and the Clayton South squad’s last victory won on Saturday at the 2022 Adelaide 500.

“It feels awesome,” Mostert said. “We’ve been working extremely hard — when I say ‘we’, I mean more the team’s been working extremely hard and I just keep trying to send the car. It’s just so good.

“I’m looking forward to Darwin next, which will be great. I just need to try and keep that motivation going. I think we’ve got a pretty good car at the moment, but there are always some little things we can work on.”

Wholesome grid walk moment wins fans | 01:40

Mostert has meticulously avoided talking about his season in championship terms despite ably keeping in touch with the leaders, but he’s allowed himself to loosen up a bit since the comprehensive result in Perth.

“I feel like it’s a good opportunity, but I don’t want to be cliche too,” he said. “Everyone has one unbelievable round and then say they’re back. We just need to keep building these next couple of rounds.

“It’s good to think that hopefully our championship can start now and keep pushing. We’ll see if we can make these other guys make some mistakes along the way.”

Victory in Perth carried added meaning for the former Holden Racing Team, being its first win as part of the Ford family.

It’s now 594 points behind Triple Eight and 80 ahead of Tickford following Cam Waters’s Sunday triumph.

“The teams championship stuff is really interesting as well,” he said. “It would be pretty unique to see Walkinshaw Andretti United so far up the pit lane at the next one, and hopefully we can put it to good use.”

But unlike Feeney, who will arrive in the Northern Territory knowing he was in sizzling form this time last year, Mostert and WAU will land intending on banishing some demons, with the team’s 2023 Darwin experience came in the thick of its deep struggles adapting to the new Gen3 car.

Hidden Valley isn’t an easy track to acclimatise to, particularly coming during winter in the southern parts of the country. Darwin’s far-north climate and high-speed layout puts an emphasis on tyre management and race strategy — particularly the case this season, with two longer races replacing last year’s three shorter sprints.

Race pace was a particular bugbear for Ford teams last season, but in 2024 Mostert is optimistic he can atone for 2023’s underwhelming performance.

“The biggest challenge will be the supersoft tyre,” Mostert said. “The three different compounds change the characteristics of the car a lot.

“Compared to where we were in Darwin last year — I watched the recaps from last year, I don’t think I qualified off the second-last row — it’ll be great to hopefully go up there, know that we’ve made some improvements and delete last year out of our mind as well.

“We’ll just see if we’re good on the supersoft tyre. If not, we’ve got some things in the bank that we need to try and chuck at it to try and make it happen.”

Chaz Mostert is on a charge. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images


The fascinating juncture in this year’s championship battle comes with the Darwin Triple Crown and the sport’s Indigenous round as its backdrop.

The sport introduced the popular Indigenous round in 2022, with the full field of cars repainted in liveries created by First Nations artists.

The Triple Crown, meanwhile, has been running since 2006, challenging drivers to sweep the entire weekend of racing.

With the weekend’s schedule shrinking from three races to two, the prize will be contested over new rules this season.

Qualifying for Saturday’s race has been moved to Friday afternoon and becomes the first leg of the crown.

Winning both 137-kilometres, 48-lap races on Saturday and Sunday become the second and third legs respectively.

Drivers must top all three sessions; it isn’t enough to simply win the round.

It’s therefore been deviously difficult to win. In fact just winning in Darwin at all is difficult.

Despite long stints of domination by one driver or a small group of rivals in recent years and just three series champions being crowned, Hidden Valley has an impressively wide-open form guide based on past winners.

The last seven races have been won by seven different drivers: Jack Le Brocq, Broc Feeney, Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert, Cam Waters, Anton de Pasquale, Shane van Gisbergen.

That expands to eight from the last 10 if you date back to Scott McLaughlin’s last win here in 2020.

Only McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup have claimed the Triple Crown, but neither did it according to the rules in force this weekend.

McLaughlin was the first to claim it, winning the Saturday sprint, topping Sunday’s pole shootout and claiming victory in the feature race.

Whincup won it in 2020, when under the revised season calendar it went to the driver who scored the most points over the weekend. The seven-time champion claimed two second-place finishes and a victory to seal the deal.

Stringing together a Triple Crown performance this weekend would be a serious statement of championship intent.

Source link

Find Us on Socials

Share this Article
Leave a comment