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HomeNewsRookie Wood stripped of first-up Shootout berth

Rookie Wood stripped of first-up Shootout berth

WALKINSHAW Andretti United rookie Ryan Wood has been denied a fairytale Top 10 Shootout appearance on his Repco Supercars Championship debut.

The 20-year-old Super2 graduate had qualified eighth fastest at the Bathurst 500, seemingly locking the Kiwi into the coveted one-at-a-time session ahead of his very first Supercars start.

However, Wood’s best time was set with yellow flags flying at the final corner due to Matt Payne beaching his Grove Racing Mustang in the gravel trap.

That triggered a post-session investigation and has resulted in Wood losing his best time and being demoted to 14th in the result.

Coincidentally, the man who Wood unseated in the #2 WAU Mustang, Nick Percat, is the biggest beneficiary, having ended up 11th in his Matt Stone Racing Camaro.

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

“For me it’s a bit gutting,” said Wood of the news. “To make the Top 10 Shootout and then get it taken away is gutting.

“It’s a shame that Matty Payne forgot how to brake at the last corner. He’s one of my best mates, so I can say that.

“I think we end up lining up side-by-side. It’ll be interesting, it’ll be elbows out. Hopefully we’ll have a good race and get back in the 10.”

Macauley Jones also lost his fastest lap for the same infringement and drops from 23rd to 24th in the result as a consequence.

David Reynolds and Chaz Mostert also set their best laps while Payne was in the gravel, but have not been punished as they did not improve their previous final sector bests.

While Wood won’t be in the field, there will be one first-time Shootout runner in this afternoon’s session, with second-year MSR driver Cameron Hill eighth-fastest.

Cameron Hill. Pic: Nathan Wong

“It’s pretty awesome. I’m going to have the Mountain all to myself,” said Hill.

“I’ve never done a Top 10 Shootout but I’ve been watching long enough, I kind of know what to do and just go as fast as I can.

Asked what has improved this year, Hill added: “I think it’s just refinement.

“We definitely made a big step forward with Gen3, brand new cars, level playing field and over the course of the year we worked out what worked, what doesn’t work and now it’s just putting all those things together, all those little one-percenters.”

Grove Racing’s new signing Richie Stanaway also impressed by booking a Shootout spot ahead of his first start as a full-time driver since 2019, qualifying ninth.

Stanaway has qualified for Shootouts twice previously, at Pukekohe in 2018 and the Bathurst 1000 in 2022, although the latter session was abandoned due to heavy rain.

The Top 10 Shootout for Race 1 of the Thrifty Bathurst 500 is scheduled for 1:05pm local time.

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