Walkinshaw seats vacant as co-driver practice commences

Speedcafe.com

Friday 5th July, 2013 - 4:30am

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The HRT took a pole position last time out in Darwin thanks to James Courtney

The HRT took a pole position last time out in Darwin thanks to James Courtney

The three-car Walkinshaw Racing stable remains with just one confirmed endurance pilot as the first co-driver practice session kicks off in Townsville today.

The majority of co-drivers will be enjoying a first taste of their endurance mounts during the 30 minute Practice 0 session that proceeds the first full primary driver hit-out of the weekend.

Greg Murphy, however, remains the only confirmed Holden Racing Team co-driver, and has been cross-entered in both Garth Tander’s #2 and James Courtney’s #22 Commodores for the session.

Two international drivers linked to HRT for the enduros, Ryan Briscoe and Oliver Gavin, are believed to have fallen out of the equation in recent weeks, leaving the factory Holden squad scrambling for replacements.

Curiously, the team’s rising star Nick Percat is unavailable having been farmed out to Walkinshaw Racing customer squad Tony D’Alberto Racing in a deal announced in March.

A HRT spokesman declined to comment about the squad’s progress with endurance signings when approached by Speedcafe.com in Townsville.

Ingall, meanwhile, is understood to be particularly anxious about news of his endurance partner following a tough run last year alongside the inexperienced Austrian import Christian Klien.

“The team have told me they have got it under control, but at this stage I don’t know who it is,” Ingall, who was previously thought likely to be teaming with Briscoe, told Speedcafe.com.

“There’s been rumours on who it might be but at this stage nothing is locked in.

“It would want to happen pretty soon because whoever it is would need to start doing some laps in the car.”

Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport also has two endurance seats that are yet to be officially confirmed.

The drives alongside regulars Scott Pye and Dean Fiore are expected to be filled by Paul Morris and Matthew Halliday. The latter is not scheduled to take to the track in Townsville, however, with the Kiwi currently on Spa 24 Hour testing duties in Europe.

Brad Jones Racing meanwhile saw a seat in its team become vacant in tragic circumstances late last month by the death of popular Dane Allan Simonsen in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team’s Dunlop Series driver Chris Pither will step aboard David Wall’s Holden for the Practice 0 hit-out, although a team spokesman told Speedcafe.com that a deal with the Kiwi for the enduros is not currently in place.

Pither co-drove with Wall at Sandown and Bathurst last year, scoring an impressive 14th.

As expected, internationally-based co-drivers John McIntyre (Jeld-Wen FPR), Marc Lieb (Tekno) and Jeroen Bleekemolen are all absent from Townsville.

See below for the official entry list

Car Number Team Sponsor Name Primary Driver Additional Driver Additional Driver
1 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Paul Dumbrell
2 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Greg Murphy
3 Team HIFLEX Tony D’Alberto Nick Percat
4 IRWIN Racing Lee Holdsworth Craig Baird
5 Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Mark Winterbottom Steven Richards
6 Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Will Davison Steve Owen
7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly David Russell Karl Reindler
8 Team BOC Jason Bright Andrew Jones
9 SP Tools Racing Maro Engel Craig Baird
12 Wilson Security Racing Chaz Mostert Dale Wood
14 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Luke Youlden
15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly David Russell Karl Reindler
17 Wilson Security Racing Tim Blanchard Ash Walsh
18 Jeld-wen FPR Ford Alex Davison
19 Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb
21 Wilson Security Racing David Wall Chris Pither
22 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Greg Murphy
33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin
34 Fujitsu Racing GRM Alex Premat
36 Norton Hornets Michael Caruso Daniel Gaunt Taz Douglas
47 HHA Racing Tim Slade Andrew Thompson
55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford David Reynolds
80 èkol Racing Scott Pye
88 Dodo Insurance Racing Dean Fiore
97 Tekno Team VIP Shane van Gisbergen
226 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall
360 Norton Hornets James Moffat Daniel Gaunt Taz Douglas
888 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Warren Luff

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