WILDCARD Richie Stanaway admitted he was ‘secretly hoping’ to make the Top 10 Shootout on his return to Supercars action at the Repco Bathurst 1000.
The 30-year-old Kiwi proved the star of Friday’s wet running at Mount Panorama, setting the fourth fastest time in Practice 4 and then clocking fifth in qualifying to book a Shootout berth.
It was a remarkable turnaround for the Boost Mobile wildcard Commodore, after mechanical trouble robbed Stanaway of precious track time on Thursday and this morning.
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While Stanaway’s performance was arguably the surprise of the day, the ever-understated driver said he’d been hoping to make the coveted Top 10 session on his return.
Stanaway has been out of Supercars since his troubled two-year stint as a full-timer concluded at the end of 2019, returning alongside Greg Murphy at the Great Race.
“We had a rough couple of practice sessions, and as a wildcard, you’re getting your crew together and the morale was a bit low, so to put the car in the Shootout is a good boost for us,” he said.
“I was secretly hoping to get into the Shootout – but I never would have said that before qualifying! So great to actually get it in there.”
Stanaway has a history of heroics in wet conditions – Triple Eight’s Garth Tander admitting the Holden team studied the Kiwi’s 2017 Bathurst masterclass ahead of the weekend.
“I would like to have actually had this weekend in the dry just to see how we would go there, because when it rains it’s a very different skill,” Stanaway continued.
“Regardless, it’s a good leveller considering how much track time we lost in a couple of those sessions. I lost an hour of running.
“The more track time we lost, the more I was hoping it would rain. It’s just awesome to be in the top 10 and to have all three of the Boost cars in there as well I think is awesome.”
Stanaway was in and out of the top 10 throughout the 40-minute session and ended up fifth despite not pitting for a final run on new tyres.
“I was a little bit worried at the end there because we stayed out there quite long and the tyre over-pressured,” he said.
“I was worried we’d drop just in the last few minutes there because I couldn’t improve. Luckily, we held onto the spot.
“I’m just super-stoked for the whole team and for Boost Mobile to have three cars in the Top 10, I think that’s pretty awesome as well.
“We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Boost Mobile Racing regulars Brodie Kostecki and Will Brown secured ninth and 10th respectively, the latter after rapid repairs following a crash in Practice 4.
Two more practice sessions will take place on Saturday ahead of the Top 10 Shootout at 5:05pm local time.