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WHY GROVE EXPECTS TO BUCK BATHURST BLUES

GROVE Racing hopes some Triple Eight Race Engineering intel from team principal David Cauchi can propel it to long overdue success at Mount Panorama.

Under its various monikers, the Braeside squad has had very limited success in recent years at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

In its full history spanning back to Kelly Racing’s launch in 2009, only twice has it recorded top five finishes in the 161-lapper – and none since James Moffat and Taz Douglas were runners-up eight years ago.

The lack of success hasn’t exactly come in spite of blistering pace either; the team last made a Bathurst 1000 Top 10 Shootout in 2016 courtesy of Michael Caruso.

Even in its two starts since switching to Ford, neither of its Mustangs have finished a Great Race inside the 10.

But armed with a more competitive package this season and now led by ex-Triple Eight guru Cauchi, there’s cause for optimism as the October 6-9 event looms.

“It’s a big focus,” team owner Stephen Grove told V8 Sleuth.

“Triple Eight has been very successful up there and obviously we now have Cauchi onboard and his experience.

“It’s a big race for us, we’re pretty excited about it.

“Matty Campbell and Dave (Reynolds) I think are the right combination, we’ll prepare the cars well, and then Lee (Holdsworth) and Matty Payne, Matty will be quite quick around there.

“He has got the advantage of doing Super2 up there so he will be in the car a lot, and Lee obviously won it last year so he comes with a lot of experience.

“We’re quietly confident we can be in the top 10 there.”

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Having been podium regulars through the opening half of the season, results have been a little harder to come by from Darwin onwards.

Grove Racing is now on a 15-race podium drought, although Reynolds does have five straight top 10 finishes.

“We got some good gains early and now the gains are smaller,” said Grove.

“We’re getting to the back end so we’re still developing the car but probably not as hard as we were during the first half of the year with our eyes firmly on Gen3.”

Grove Racing completed its pre-Bathurst test on Tuesday at Winton Motor Raceway.

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