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HomeNewsWhy Stanaway’s starring comeback was ‘bittersweet’

Why Stanaway’s starring comeback was ‘bittersweet’

RICHIE Stanaway admits fourth place in his first race back as a Supercars full-timer was not all he’d dreamed of.

While delighted with the platform he has set for this weekend’s Albert Park round and beyond, Stanaway had even loftier hopes heading into the Bathurst 500.

“It was a bit of a bittersweet feeling to finish fourth in the first race of the year, because I wanted to just roll up and win straightaway,” the #26 driver said in a Penrite Racing video.

Stanaway’s previous solo Supercars race had come at the 2019 Newcastle 500 before he slipped into retirement.

Now a Bathurst 1000 winner (achieved last year with Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight), he was signed by Grove Racing for 2024 and both parties have flagged high hopes for what’s immediately possible.

The Groves have been assembling a super team and last year celebrated its maiden main game wins, while Stanaway has long been considered an immense talent in the right environment.

Indeed, Grove team principal David Cauchi warned rivals to “look out” given the high baseline Stanaway has set.

“I guess with all things considered, it’s the best finishing result for me in a sprint race as a solo driver,” Stanaway continued, his previous PB being ninth at the 2018 Winton SuperSprint and 2019 Auckland SuperSprint.

“If you told me back then in 2018 that I’d have to wait six years or whatever to improve, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, but better late than never.

“If that’s where we’re starting from after having a few years off, then I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t be fighting for wins after a bit more time.”

Stanaway holds fourth in the championship; Round 2 at Albert Park starts tomorrow.

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