Richie Stanaway has been forced to sit out this weekend’s BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown after a suffering a setback in his recovery from an ongoing neck injury.
The Kiwi was forced to end a pre-event test day early before withdrawing from the Sunday at the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint due to a flare-up of an old neck complaint that dates back to a crash sustained in 2012 at Spa-Francorchamps.
Stanaway, who was replaced by Chris Pither, has since been diagnosed with a protruding disc on the right hand side between vertebrae C6 and C7 in his neck, which was impacting a nerve.
The former single-seater driver has avoided the need for surgery but has undergone medical treatment.
However, the 27-year-old has suffered a setback in his recovery and is now working to return for the Watpac Townsville 400 (July 5-7).
“Following Richie’s medical withdrawal from Race 14 of the Supercars Championship at Winton Raceway, he has been undergoing treatment from Supercars doctor, Dr Carl,” read a statement issued to Speedcafe.com from Boost Mobile Racing.
“Due to the recurrence of neck issues originating from a high speed accident at Spa in a Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, he has been advised by Dr. Carl and a neurosurgeon to undergo further treatment to be fit and race ready for Townsville.
“Since Winton, Richie’s health had been improving on a daily basis, yet he suffered a set back a couple of days ago.
“As per Winton, Richie’s Enduro Cup partner and GRM TCR Driver, Chris Pither will fill in for Richie and race the #33 Boost Mobile Commodore at Darwin.”
Pither, who finished 14th when he deputised for Stanaway at Winton, was in action at last weekend’s TCR Australia round at Phillip Island driving a Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Megane.
The Darwin Triple Crown is scheduled to begin on Friday with opening practice at 1110 ACST/1140 AEST.