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Mount Panorama
Tuesday, May 28, 2024


TRIPLE Eight Race Engineering is approaching its Repco Bathurst 1000 wildcard qualifying dilemma in a similar manner to when it fielded an all-international Xbox-backed entry.

In 2013, British touring car star Andy Priaulx partnered Mattias Ekstrom of Sweden in the Mount Panorama Supercars enduro, the duo taking an impressive top 10 finish.

Priaulx was the car’s nominated primary driver, although Ekstrom wound up qualifying – a situation that could in essence repeat itself nine years on.

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Seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes is the designated primary for Triple Eight’s Supercheap Auto wildcard this year, with Super2 Series leader Declan Fraser co-driving.

However, that is not necessarily indicative of who will actually be behind the wheel for qualifying on the Friday afternoon (October 7) of the event.

“Just because a driver is listed as the primary driver doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re guaranteed to be qualifying the car,” Triple Eight co-owner Jess Dane told V8 Sleuth.

“If you look back to 2013 when Triple Eight ran the Xbox wildcard, Andy Priaulx was listed as the main driver because he had the most experience around Bathurst and therefore Mattias Ekstrom was the co-driver to give him more laps in the co-driver sessions.

The Xbox car was a competitive force in 2013. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

“(Ekstrom) ended up being faster and therefore qualified the car.

“When it comes down to what will happen at Bathurst this time around, instinctively you want to say Craig will qualify because he has got so much more experience around The Mountain, but having said that, there’s no rule to say that he has to.

“We’ll just see what happens as the weekend progresses.”

MORE: The full 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 schedule

Six practice sessions, each lasting 60 minutes, precede race day at Mount Panorama. Of those, the primary driver can only partake in four, whereas the co-driver is eligible for all six.

The #888 ZB Commodore has one more test day to come pre-event, on September 28 at Queensland Raceway.

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