Thompson edges ahead
IT’S funny how things evolve.
The last contact Andrew Thompson had with David Russell was when he was a teenager buying a kart from the Caniaba driver in Lismore.
Fast forward to last weekend and the 23-year-old was driving neck and neck against Russell to edge out a victory in the second round of the 2011 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth.
Thompson, a former Byron Bay resident, was full of praise for the veteran driver.
“David always races well,” Thompson said.
“He has a few years’ experience under his belt and formed some good continuity with his car and team.”
Thompson, who now lives on the Gold Coast, is currently leading the Fujitsu Series on 507 points – 15 points clear of the second-placed Scott McLaughlin.
But he believes he should be ahead by more.
“I got turned around and basically got run off the track in the first round at Adelaide,” he said.
“I thought it was a pretty ordinary move by the driver (Nick Percat).
“He didn’t bother to speak to me about if afterwards and I haven’t made any contact with him.
“I finished fifth at that event and to have an outright lead at first now is a pretty good result.”
It’s been a tough road for Thompson.
He was part of the PWR team in 2008 and joined the Bundaberg Red Racing Team in Melbourne last year.
“It’s definitely been a long journey,” Thompson said.
“I’ve made some bad decisions and aligned myself with the wrong people along the way.
“With PWR it was a case of things looking great from the outside, then not so flash once I got there.
“They were under-funded and using the wrong equipment.
“Again last year, Bundaberg Red semi-folded and I was left to pick up the pieces.
“But hindsight is a funny thing, I’m lucky to have been picked up by Team Vodafone.
“There is more pressure on me this year to get back to the top level in V8 racing, and I feel like I have the right team and equipment, unlike previous years.”
Thompson will head to Townsville to compete in the next round of the Fujitsu Series on July 8.