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Owen eyes reverse grid win after tough opening race


Aussie driver still seeking the sweet spot in Falcon's handling after NZ V8s' opening race at Ruapuna.

Australian V8 Supercar driver Steve Owen has set his sights, reluctantly, on winning the reverse grid race in today’s round of the BNT NZ V8s series at Christchurch’s Ruapuna Park.

Owen, standing in for the injured Paul Radisich in the HPM Ford Falcon, struggled through practice and qualifying to find an ideal chassis set-up, and started yesterday’s first race from 13th on the grid.

In the usual mid-pack jostling, the Falcon was tagged from behind and the rear bumper came partially off. Officials ordered him to pit to get it removed, and he finished 19th – which is where he starts today’s third race.

That almost certainly puts him out of contention for a good race two placing, and he therefore has his eyes set on winning the final, reverse grid, race which he’ll start from near the front.

“You never like to aim your weekend over winning the reverse grid race but that’s the position we’re in now,” he said. “The bumper was apparently a bit loose, but was still attached to the car, but not the way the officials wanted to see it so they made us fix it.”

He had struggled pre-race to get the Falcon, set up using Radisich’s data, to settings that suited his driving style.

“We know plenty of things of what not to do – unfortunately,” he said after being bumped to 13th on the grid as other drivers got their set-ups sorted.

Overnight the HPM crew was making more changes to the car. “We’re struggling,” Owen said. “We’re still (working to get) what I want out of the car so it’s a learning weekend. It’s just a little frustrating.”

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