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Grove laments ‘poor’ Perth showing

THERE was no mincing of words when it came to Stephen Grove’s assessment of his team’s Perth performance.

While fellow Ford squads Walkinshaw Andretti United and Tickford Racing starred, Grove Racing was mired in the upper midfield at Wanneroo Raceway.

And they were duly punished, sliding from second to fourth in the live pitlane order for Darwin.

Matt Payne managed to salvage eighth and ninth from the two races – the latter result having come from 16th on the grid – while Richie Stanaway was 24th (due to a fuel pump problem which triggered a crash) and 12th.

“It was a poor weekend for Grove Racing,” said its team owner.

“We need to continue to work harder to unlock the speed in the Mustang.

“The track just didn’t suit our set-up this time… our qualifying pace was a problem over the weekend, and you need to be qualifying at the front to get any sort of result.

“The car had good race pace but that’s no good if you’re starting towards the back.”

Matt Payne. Pic: Ross Gibb

Payne described it as a “trying” round but was encouraged by being able to muster enough points to keep himself fifth in the drivers’ championship.

Stanaway on the other hand dropped from fourth to 10th, but took a philosophical view of proceedings.

“It’s been a challenging weekend for us, but I feel like we have learned a lot,” said the Bathurst 1000 winner.

“We’ve been testing a lot of things with the car to try and take the next step, but the nature of trying to move forward is that sometimes you end up taking a step back.

“But the positive thing is that we have a lot of information and data to take away from the event, and I think we can use that as we move forward.”

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