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Triple Eight throws support behind Murray

TRIPLE Eight boss Jamie Whincup has defended Cooper Murray after the 22-year-old’s mixed start to the season took another twist in Perth.

Enviable opportunities await Murray, who will make his solo Supercars debut in a Supercheap Auto-backed wildcard at next month’s Darwin Triple Crown before teaming up with Craig Lowndes for the enduros.

Next Tuesday, Murray will test the #888 Camaro at Queensland Raceway in a welcome chance to move on from an up-and-down time of it thus far in the 2024 Dunlop Series.

Murray has two pole positions from four attempts this year. He endured a double DNF at Bathurst before being the round runner-up in Perth, although his part in Cameron McLeod’s divisive rollover crash has drawn debate.

The stewards deemed Murray “has a case to answer for an alleged breach of Schedule B2, Code of Driving Conduct – Driving 3.9”, with a hearing adjourned to allow his Eggleston Motorsport team sufficient time to mount a defence.

The referenced rule reads, “It is not permitted for any Driver to unfairly gain an advantage as a result of contact to another Car.”

It’s understood that continued contact out of the exit of Turn 6 is more so under review than the eventual moment that tipped McLeod’s Commodore into a rollover. The latter had been moving right in a bid to defend against Murray.

Cooper Murray in action. Pic: Ross Gibb

Speaking on Sunday afternoon, before the stewards report was released publicly, Whincup had no concern about Murray’s actions.

“You don’t like seeing wrecked cars like we did (on Sunday) but he stood his ground, which is exactly what he should have done,” the seven-time Supercars champion told V8 Sleuth.

A date for the hearing is yet to be announced.

Nevertheless, Whincup is excited to see what the two-time Super2 race winner can do on the big stage.

“I think he’s an awesome young talent and that’s what we’re all about, is giving new talent a crack,” he said of Murray.

Pic: Ross Gibb

“I’m impressed with what he is doing. His qualifying pace is excellent. He has been a little bit hot and cold in the races, which he knows, but that’s what Super2 is all about.

“We’re looking forward to getting him in the car in Darwin at the next round to see where he stacks up in the main game.”

Whincup will act as team manager for the wildcard entry at Hidden Valley before handing over the reins to a to-be-confirmed alternative for the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 500, where he’ll co-drive with Broc Feeney.

Wes McDougall will be Murray’s Triple Eight race engineer.

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