Russell Ingall predicts Bathurst free for all
V8 Supercar veteran Russell Ingall says a combination of inexperienced co-drivers and inclement weather will create a “free-for-all” at Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.
The two-time Bathurst champion believes the new rule preventing teammates from pairing up for this year’s endurance races will give smaller operations such as his Supercheap Auto Commodore every chance to mix it with big boys like TeamVodafone and Holden Racing Team.
“Bathurst is going to be a free-for-all as far as results go this weekend,” Ingall told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s our first Bathurst weekend that has got non-teammates put together.
“The rent-a-drivers have to be teamed up with all the level one drivers this year so that’s going to really open the field.
“When you were competing against a (Craig) Lowndes and a (Jamie) Whincup or a (Garth) Tander and a (Will) Davison it’s pretty hard work but now they’ve all been split up, look it’s made the field twice as fast, but on the other side of it it’s given a lot of teams like ourselves … we’re in for an outright chance.”
The 46-year-old believes the added element of some forecasted rain over the weekend could create plenty of havoc among the field to further create potential for surprises.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“Good to have a bit of a mixture, it really makes a Bathurst when you have a mix of wet and dry racing and I think that’s what we’re going to get on the weekend.
“Sorts the men out from the boys that’s for sure.
“Don’t be surprised if this year’s winner is going to be a left-field driver. Don’t expect it to be one of your main game drivers because I think someone could come out of the blue.”
And Ingall is also looking forward to the chance to resume hostilities with old sparring partner Mark Skaife, who along with TeamVodafone’s Lowndes, is seen as a pre-race favourite after the pair’s win at last month’s Phillip Island 500.
“Great for Holden to have Mark back in the game but it’ll be different at Bathurst,” he said.
“At the end of the day, this category’s very competitive (and unless) you’re racing week-in, week-out, you’ve got to be in the saddle the whole time because you just do knock the edge off a little bit. Bathurst is one of those places you need everything going for you.”© AAP 2013
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