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MURPHY’S MODEST GOAL FOR BATHURST COMEBACK

GREG Murphy is keeping it simple when it comes to what he’s hoping to achieve in his first Bathurst 1000 in eight years: finish on the lead lap.

Speaking on Tuesday after the second of three test days in the #51 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore, the Kiwi legend expressed growing confidence around what he’ll be able to deliver come race day on October 9.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to fall into any sort of trap in terms of setting targets too lofty.

“If we were on the lead lap at the end, that would just be huge,” said the man who turns 50 next week.

“I do not underestimate the challenge of actually that task, because it’s a massive one.

“That would be hugely successful and beyond probably what I would believe would be possible in some respects.”

A four-time Great Race winner, Murphy expects to be more at ease around the daunting Mount Panorama circuit than at Winton, where each of the wildcard’s tests are taking place.

The #51 ZB Commodore at Winton. Pic: Lucas Wroe/One Nine Media

“I actually feel like in some ways I’m going to be more comfortable turning up there than I’m actually here at Winton,” he said.

“I’m not going to get ahead of myself but I feel quite confident that things are going to feel quite familiar and the car I’ll be able to adapt what I need to in my driving there a bit easier maybe than what I am able to do here at Winton.”

Joining ‘Murph’ at The Mountain will be another Kiwi on the comeback trail, namely Richie Stanaway.

A prodigal talent who won GP2 races in 2015 and the Sandown 500 two years later, Stanaway’s subsequent two years as a Supercars full-timer produced very little in the way of results – leading to his retirement at the end of 2019.

He conceded that the lack of form in those campaigns had dented his Bathurst excitement; conversely the considerable unknown element this year is a motivator.

Richie Stanaway. Pic: Lucas Wroe/One Nine Media

The Erebus package was ultra-competitive at Bathurst last year, proven by a podium finish for Brodie Kostecki/David Russell.

“For me it’s exciting because we’re going to Bathurst not really knowing,” said Stanaway.

“I’ve never raced this car before, whereas the last two years I was racing full-time you kind of know how your season has been going and it’s not like you’re going to turn up at Bathurst and just magically go a lot better than what you’ve been going throughout that season.

“So I’m going into it this year with a clean slate and I don’t really know what to expect, so I guess I feel invigorated and I’m pumped to see how we go.”

Murphy and Stanaway’s final pre-event hitout is due to take place at Winton on September 28.

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