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Wily veteran extends Bathurst 1000 streak

JUST four drivers have finished top 10 in each of the past four editions of the Bathurst 1000.

There’s 2021 winners Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth, current championship leader Brodie Kostecki… and Brad Jones Racing co-driver Dean Fiore.

The unassuming 39-year-old was sixth with Team 18’s Scott Pye in the 2020 Great Race before switching to BJR, where he has placed eighth with Todd Hazelwood in 2021, ninth with Bryce Fullwood last year and seventh with Fullwood last weekend.

It was anything but a smooth run for Fiore, who crashed at Murray’s Corner during Practice 2 and earned a drive-through penalty for a pitlane infringement, but there was no stopping the continuation of his top 10 streak.

“I wasn’t comfortable with the car in the first stint, but the second stint was so much better,” Fiore reflected.

“Felt really, really comfortable and happy with the speed. And then we got a pitlane penalty for popping the pit speed limit button, like a second too early on pit exit, which I didn’t even know was a thing.

“I’m so upset with that because the penalty just does not fit the crime in any way, shape or form.

The #14 Middy’s Camaro. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

“So that’s put a bit of a dampener on it for me, but Bryce did a fantastic job and so too Phil (Keed, race engineer) and Jason (Bonney, date engineer) and all the boys and girls in the team, they should be very proud of that because we had a tough four days.

“And Bryce drove the wheels off in those last two stints to bring us home a decent result.”

It was otherwise a shocking Sunday at Mount Panorama for BJR, with its #8 entry of Andre Heimgartner/Dale Wood suffering a race-ending engine drama, and its other two Camaros of Macauley Jones and Jack Smith colliding.

Both sustained damage and Jones was issued a 15-second penalty.

“I had contact with a teammate which is never ideal and really frustrated with myself about that,” Jones said afterwards.

“Just made a mistake there and paid the price for it.”

BJR remains third in the teams’ championship, but now with a reduced 95-point buffer over Dick Johnson Racing.

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