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PremiAir boss targets Bathurst 12 Hour return

PREMIAIR Racing team boss Peter Xiberras has declared his intention to return to the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2024, despite a baptism of fire on Sunday.

The Supercars squad linked with experienced amateur racer and Audi car owner Brad Schumacher to field a Pro-Am entry in a late deal for this year’s event.

Schumacher was joined by PremiAir Supercars driver James Golding and Audi factory driver Frederic Vervisch, who was a late replacement for Kelvin van der Linde.

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The Fuchs-backed Audi’s race was dealt a major blow in the fourth hour when radio issues led to Schumacher copping a drive-through for ignoring blue flags.

A two-minute penalty was also added when the communication breakdown meant he didn’t serve the drive-through quickly enough, much to the later frustration of Schumacher.

The car lost four laps but had climbed back to eighth outright and first in Pro-Am when it was forced to the garage in the 10th hour with a terminal engine issue.

“We believe it’s either an injector or a valve spring, some sort of component failure which is disappointing,” Xiberras told V8 Sleuth of the problem.

“I think we were going to come home strong. At the time we were third in our class but if pitstop strategies and things went our way we could have brought it home.

“But should have, would have, could have.”

Of the earlier trouble, Xiberras added: “When Brad got in the car, for whatever reason his earpiece wasn’t working.

“We couldn’t communicate with him. He had some blue flags which turned into black flags, which turned into a two-minute pitstop penalty.

“It just compounded, so it was a shit start but I thought that was our bad luck for the day and we’d come home with a dream run, but it wasn’t to be.”

The dramas though did not dampen Xiberras’ enthusiasm for the event, which adds to his efforts as a Supercars team owner and Top Fuel drag racing owner/driver.

“There’s two ways to look at it. If you don’t win it, you want to come back and win it, and if you do win it you want to come back and win it again,” he said.

“But I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a different style of weekend to what we’ve been used to, it’s had a real international feel about it.

“The whole reason this even started was to try and get James, and originally also Tim (Slade), to do laps together before the (Supercars) season starts.

“Tim couldn’t be here because his partner is expecting their second child, which is understandable.

“I think any time these drivers can drive it’s a positive, it’s an advantage. If the opportunity comes up to do it next year I’d like to be involved.”

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