Thirty-five days to Bathurst

CASTROL PERKINS TEAM ANNOUNCES DRIVER LINE-UP Larry Perkins' Castrol Holden team has announced its driver pairings for the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13. Former race winners Steve Richards and Russell Ingall will ...

Thirty-five days to Bathurst

CASTROL PERKINS TEAM ANNOUNCES DRIVER LINE-UP

Larry Perkins' Castrol Holden team has announced its driver pairings for the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13. Former race winners Steve Richards and Russell Ingall will team-up in the #16 Castrol Commodore while Perkins and young star Paul Dumbrell will drive the famous #11 Castrol machine.

Richards, who won the race in 1998 and 1999, has been a part of the Perkins team all season after leaving Glenn Seton's Ford outfit at the end of last t year.

Ingall won the ^ÌGreat Race" as Perkins' co-driver in 1995 and 1997 and will be making his last Bathurst appearance for the Castrol outfit this year before moving on to another team in 2003.

"Steven and Russell are doing an exceptional job this year and are both in the top 10 of the championship," said Perkins.

"I think our best chance of giving Castrol and Holden a chance of winning another Bathurst is by putting those two guys together.

"At the same time, Paul has done an outstanding job in the Konica Series this season and we can't be discounted either.

"I am sure Paul will make the most of his opportunity."

* The Holden Racing Team is yet to confirm its final driver pairings, although it is expected that Mark Skaife will pair with Jim Richards and Jason Bright with Tomas Mezera all four drivers have won at least one Bathurst event previously.

BOB JANE T-MARTS FIELD ALMOST SET

THE field for this year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13 is almost complete.

Two of the final missing pieces of the puzzle where set in place this week when Garry Rogers Motorsport announced Formula Ford whiz Jamie Whincup and sprintcar hero Max Dumesny as the two drivers for the #35 Valvoline-Cummins-Repco Commodore.

They join what is shaping as one of the most competitive fields ever seen at Mt Panorama.

This year's race will include stars such as Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose, Jason Bright, Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, David Besnard, Todd Kelly, John Bowe and Garth Tander.

It will also feature nine-time winner Peter Brock, who will be having his first start in the race since 1997.

STONE BROTHERS RACING BELIEVE IT IS "TIME"

Stone Brothers Racing owners Ross and Jim Stone believe it is time they won the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 if history is on their side.

The pair won the 1994 event while working with Dick Johnson's Shell team. Four years later Ross and Jim won the race as team owners for the first time when Jason Bright and Steve Richards steered their Pirtek Ford to victory.

This year the Stones will have two strong chances in the race with Marcos Ambrose and Paul Weel teaming up in the Pirtek Falcon and David Besnard and Wayne Gardner in the Caltex Havoline Ford.

Ambrose is currently the leading Ford driver in the V8 Supercar Championship Series while Besnard is eighth in the title chase after an impressive season.

"If things come in fours then we are looking good, but unfortunately it doesn't work like that," said Ross Stone.

"Bathurst is all about being prepared, being fast and having a little luck. I am sure we can organise the first two requirements, but after that^Ê..

"Bathurst is one of the toughest races in the world to win and that's why it means so much when you do actually collect that trophy."

INTERNATIONAL STARS PASS TEST WITH FLYING COLOURS

British Touring Car Championship stars, Yvan Muller and Andy Priaulx have come through their first V8 Supercar test together with flying colours. Muller and Priaulx, the only international driver pairing to contest this Year's V8 Supercar endurance races, tested their Kmart Racing Commodore at Winton on Tuesday and impressed team manager, Rob Crawford.

"Despite being in unfamiliar surroundings, both Andy and Yvan quickly became comfortable and set some fast times - times quick enough to impress me," said Crawford. Happy with their performance that saw the pair lapping the country Victorian track as quick as Bathurst winners Jim Richards and Tomas Mezera, Crawford is sending the European pair to the Gold Coast to acclimatise before next week's VIP Pet Foods Queensland 500.

Muller and Priaulx will join regular Kmart Racing drivers, Greg Murphy and Todd Kelly, in the team for the Queensland and Bathurst races, Murphy and Kelly considered outright contenders for the races judging on the form that sees them currently lying third and fourth respectively in the series. Both return to the UK immediately following the Queensland race for the final round of the BTCC, Muller trailing Vauxhall team-mate, James Thompson, by just four points.

Muller has driven a V8 Supercar just once before, finishing 10th for the Holden Racing Team in atrocious conditions at Bathurst in 2000, while Priaulx will be making his V8 debut next week.

DID YOU KNOW?

1. Peter Brock's last race at Bathurst was 1997. His last race win (out of his record nine) was in 1987 and pole position (out of his record six) was 1989.

2. Ford has outperformed Holden in the Top 10 Shoot Out at Bathurst taking pole position 16 times ahead of Holden's 12.

3. While Ford has been dominant in the Top 10 Shoot Out, Holden has the ascendancy in the ^ÌGreat Race' itself with 20 wins to Ford's 14.

4. Ford has been in pole position for the past three years with Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Racing) taking pole last year clocking two minutes 9.7785 seconds. Mark Larkham claimed pole in 1999 with a record qualifying lap of 2:09:5146 while Wayne Gardner started from pole in 2000 for Glenn Seton's Ford team.

5. Holden cars have won Bathurst for the past three years, each year a Ford has been on pole. Mark Skaife/Tony Longhurst won last year, Garth Tander/Jason Bargwanna were victorious in 2000 and Greg Murphy/Steven Richards took the victory in 1999.

Tickets for this year's race are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster7.com or by phoning 1300 136 122. Campground sites can also be booked through the Campground Coordinator on phone (02) 6205 0665.

2002 marks the 40th anniversary of the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst. The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 is the ultimate V8 endurance race watched by more than 2.5 million Australians and 50,000 spectators perched around the demanding track. Every October the nation stops for the 'Great Race' as the Ford v Holden battle continues.

-www.bobjanetmarts1000.com

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