Dutto: The road to Bathurst

Winning Sandown has gone straight to their heads. J-Dub and the CEO have been rolling around town like they own the joint – red carpet receptions wherever they go, screaming girls throwing their underwear at them through the crowds of adoring fans and of course the obligatory ex-WWE brick house of a bodyguard.

But this isn’t about those guys. This is about the guy who wishes he could be that bodyguard. He doesn’t lift all those weights and exist almost exclusively on protein shakes just to look good, you know.

We’ve had the Big Dog’s verdict, we’ve heard about Brennan and Dale’s post-Sandown bromance, so we ventured down to the Triple Eight gym in search of Mark Dutton.

With another test day under its belt, it’s not long until the Red Bull Racing Australia crew makes the annual pilgrimage up the mountain. On the surface he looks calm and ready (thanks Eminem), but surely the pressure of not only being the reigning Bathurst champions, but also having wiped the floor with the competition at Sandown would be getting to the Car No.1 engineer by now?

“Bathurst always has its pressure, but Bathurst is too long a race to feel pressure for me as ‘the reigning ones’ – so much can happen,” Dutto said.
“We just had a pretty good test, testing Bathurst set-up, Bathurst running gear. It’s generally not speed testing, it’s reliability testing and testing if there are any issues.

“We did a lot more pit stop training because being an endurance race, it isn’t thrown away with a damaged splitter, a flat battery, things like that – the race can still be salvaged in those situations if you’re prepared and the pit stops are good enough.”

Speaking of pit stops, every Tom, Dick and Harry has had their say on what happened during that stop (you all know the one), but it’s about time we heard from the man behind the microphone. The team radio microphone that is – don’t hold your breath for an X Factor appearance any time soon.
“At the end of the day, it’s my job to deliver concise and not confusing information to the boys, and I didn’t do that with some changes, some not-even-last-second changes. Yeah, so it was my fault.”

All can be forgiven and forgotten after that result though, right? To come from 25th to first was something that no one, not even the Big Dog RD, saw coming.
Every team in pit lane is now searching for this secret ingredient that turns a race car into the four-wheeled version of Usain Bolt.
*Checks all the cupboards and toolboxes* Nope, no jungle juice here.

“If the rest of the field isn’t scratching their heads, then they’re not looking at the information in front of them because we’re scratching our heads and wondering why we went so quickly as well,” Dutto said. “It was ridiculous!

“Speed’s relative, so I can’t say if it’ll be quicker than other people at Bathurst as much as it was at Sandown. That was a bit shocking really – no one expected that.

“We can’t place our finger on what the anomaly was with the old chassis yet. I don’t believe in chasing ghosts, but we have to because there is some direct info there to show there was a difference, which we still need to nail down.
“It seems to be normal compared to the old chassis and the boys did a good job.”