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Wood tips former teammate to take fight to Allen

DUNLOP Series graduate Ryan Wood has refuted suggestions that Kai Allen will breeze to a second successive Super2 title.

Allen made an emphatic statement three months ago that there was no inkling of a championship hangover on his end, backing up his 2023 success by sweeping the Bathurst season-opener.

Only strengthening his position was the fact expected challengers Cooper Murray and Zach Bates both ran into trouble at Mount Panorama.

Murray left the Mountain with zero points, crashing out of Race 1 before being taken out by Bates in Race 2.

Walkinshaw Andretti United prodigy Bates was heavily penalised for the latter incident, demoted from a near-certain round podium to being 123 points adrift of Allen.

Wood knows better than most how Bates operates, having been teammates together last season before the Kiwi was elevated into WAU’s top squad, and he’s anticipating big things.

Ryan Wood and Zach Bates last year. Pic: Supplied

Notably, Wood and Bates were among the fastest Super2 cars last year at Wanneroo Raceway, the site of this weekend’s action.

“I believe that Zach probably had one of the strongest second halves of last year in Super2,” Wood told V8 Sleuth.

“It kind of was put under the radar a bit; like he finished third in Bathurst, right on Kai, and then in Adelaide he got unlucky I think probably both days.

“The thing with Zach, the whole year he was pushing me so hard and it really helped me develop quite fast.

“Like we had definitely strong points in our driving and we had to both bounce off each other, but I think he can no doubt take it to Kai.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park with guys like Cooper Murray, Aaron Cameron has been so good, Jobe Stewart at Bathurst in Race 2 was pretty impressive, so I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as what everybody thinks.

“But fingers crossed Batesy can have a solid weekend this round and I’m excited to watch that.”

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Wood also backed his own replacement, rookie Campbell Logan, to find his feet after a rough start at Bathurst that included having a Saturday pile-up unfold in front of him and a driveline failure immediately put him out of the Sunday race.

“It’s a big step up (from Toyota 86s) and it’s hard going straight to Bathurst as well, like that was probably one of the hardest things,” said Wood.

“I remember going to Newcastle (for Round 1 last year), but everyone was sort of on the same playing field where no one had really driven Super2 there.

“But with Campbell, to jump straight into a Super2 car at Bathurst where you’ve got to know how much you’ve got over the top, I think that was a pretty eye-opening experience.

“This weekend should be a little bit tamer and hopefully he can get on top of it and learn heaps. I think he is going to be strong towards the back half of the season.”

Wood himself is coming off an excellent recent Repco Supercars Championship showing in Taupō, where he secured results of fourth and 10th.

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