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Grove believes maiden title within reach

STEPHEN Grove believes the pieces are in place for his team to vie for a maiden Supercars title this year.

After Round 1 last weekend at Bathurst, Grove Racing is perched second in the teams’ championship, only behind Triple Eight.

A premium is being placed on points accumulation with a view to gunning for the 2024 teams’ championship crown, and Grove’s two drivers largely delivered.

Richie Stanaway backed up a fine fourth on Saturday with 11th on Sunday, while Matt Payne carved his way forward to finish inside the top 10 on both days.

“It was a really solid weekend,” Grove told V8 Sleuth.

“We had pretty good race pace, but we didn’t have a very good quali car, we were probably a bit off there.

“So for us, if that’s a bad weekend, that bodes well moving forward.”

The #19 Penrite Mustang of Matt Payne at Bathurst. Pic: Nathan Wong

Triple Eight’s dominant start to the season has not deterred Grove’s teams’ championship ambitions.

“We started the year off with the view that we had an opportunity to win that,” he said.

“It’s really early. Red Bull Racing is clearly fast and they have really got it together.

“That’s a big challenge and there’s a lot of teams up and down pitlane that had a bit of bad luck but showed a lot of pace, so we don’t take anything away from the task, but we still really believe in that.

“We just need to keep working hard at that, get both drivers to continually get points, and we’ll see where we end up.”

Grove reserved special praise for Stanaway, who it drafted in after four seasons on the sidelines (at least as a full-timer).

“He wasn’t rusty, he was onto it straightaway. His commitment, his input into the team, the data, it’s excellent,” said Grove.

“We have got two really good guys and it’s really good for us.”

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