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Comeback king Stanaway reacts to career-best

IN two prior full-time Supercars seasons, Richie Stanaway never bettered ninth in a solo race.

He changed that record in an instant on his long-awaited return to the championship as a primary driver, finishing fourth for Grove Racing in Race 1 of the Thrifty Bathurst 500 today.

“It feels good; best-ever result for me in a sprint race,” Stanaway beamed, speaking with V8 Sleuth.

“I’m not used to only having three cars finish in front of me, so to do that after a few years off, I’m really happy with that.

“It’s a solid start to the year.”

And there’s more to come.

Richie Stanaway’s #26 Penrite Mustang. Pic: Nathan Wong

“We’ve got a lot we can improve on. We’re not sitting here feeling like we don’t know where to find time, so hopefully we can be closer tomorrow,” he said.

“I had my expectations set really high for this weekend and for this year, but it’s easy to forget I’m around guys that have done this a lot more than I have in the last few years – I have spent most of that watching it on TV and not in the car.

“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

Stanaway, who bounced back from a Practice 1 crash to take part in his maiden Bathurst Top 10 Shootout, is certainly glad he took up Peter Adderton’s offer of a Great Race wildcard (in 2022 with Greg Murphy) that has ultimately led him back to this point.

“I guess it’s a little later in my career than I would have liked, but it’s better late than never. It’s just great to be back here,” he said.

Stanaway’s teammate Matt Payne finished 10th to cap a solid day for Grove Racing.

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