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Why Sports Sedans champion is missing season-opener

TONY Ricciardello hopes he and his all-conquering Alfa Romeo can return to the National Sports Sedan Series sooner than later after missing the 2024 opener.

Time-poor Ricciardello’s absence from the 16-car field this weekend at Symmons Plains has primarily been caused by a parts delay.

“We’re still on the racing side of things waiting for some parts and bits and pieces to get sorted,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“It feels like we just didn’t have enough time to get the car ready with other things in life also. I’m coaching my son’s soccer team, he’s also doing go-karts, and then I’ve got my other daughter playing soccer – just general family life, work life, it seems to be 24/7.

“But yeah, for some reason it has just taken so long to get parts and we haven’t got them yet, so that is probably the primary reason.

“It’s a little bit disappointing not to be there, it would have been good to get to Tasmania. The track would probably suit the Alfa pretty well.

“But it’s one of those things, and it’s exciting for the category to have different names at the front.”

Steve Tamasi (Holden Calibra) was fastest across the three practice sessions yesterday at Symmons Plains, while Kim Barwick’s Skyline R32 topped Practice 2.

Steve Tamasi in action. Pic: Supplied/Speed Shots Photography

Ricciardello concedes a record 13th Sports Sedans title is now unlikely to come in 2024, but noted he’ll return as soon as “the parts come and we get time to do it.”

“It’s just a few upgrades to the car and things that need to be done, it’s small changes but it requires a bit of time to get it right,” added the former Supercars driver.

“We’ll just see how we go. I’m not going to say I won’t (be at Round 2), I’m not going to say I will; once the car is back together we’ll make a plan to get to the next round or whichever one it is. Otherwise if it’s not this year, we’ll prepare for the year after.

“Just for some reason it’s so hard to get any time to get the car back together, let alone be away from work for so long.”

TICKETS: Buy your tickets to Race Tasmania, Shannons SpeedSeries

Round 2 of the Sports Sedans season will be at The Bend Motorsport Park on May 31 to June 2.

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