Kelly Racing has made another driver change to its TCR Australia line-up with Super3 young gun Hamish Ribarits replacing Alex Rullo for Round 5 at Winton.
Ribarits will drive the #62 Opel Astra that Rullo has driven in the opening four rounds of the new two litre touring car series.
The driver switch arrives just 24 hours after it was confirmed Super2 leader Bryce Fullwood would join the squad in Andre Heimgartner’s repaired Subaru, while the latter continues in the Astra usually raced by Chelsea Angelo, who will remain on the sidelines.
Rullo had only inked a four round TCR deal with Kelly Racing and will now focus on preparing for the Pirtek Enduro Cup where he will race the squad’s #78 Nissan Altima alongside Simona De Silvestro.
The West Australian former Supercars and Super2 driver says there is a chance he will return to the category next year.
“We had a four round deal and we were looking at potentially doing the full season but I’ve decided to stick with that deal and I will now look forward and focus on the Supercars enduros,” Rullo told Speedcafe.com.
“Potentially. It (racing in TCR next year) is still on the cards. It is the series’ first season and it is still growing and the cars are still being developed. There is definitely the potential to return next year.”
Meanwhile, his replacement Ribarits has already experienced TCR Australia having driven in June’s Round 2 at Phillip Island for the Melbourne Performance Centre squad and is now looking forward to teaming up with Kelly Racing.
The run proved successful for the rising star, who sits third in the Super3 standings, as he scored three top 10 finishes including a podium in Race 2
“I’m really excited to join Kelly Racing and have a second round in the TCR Australia Series,” said Ribarits.
“Kelly Racing is one of the biggest racing organisations in Australia and they are very professional. They have obviously had some hurdles to manage with their initial TCR program, however, when the Astras have been fast, they are a genuine threat.
“We feel that the Astras are going to suit Winton, so we’re looking forward to getting in there and seeing how we can go.”
Kelly Racing will field four cars this weekend with Molly Taylor set to continue in the #6 Subaru with Fullwood in the sister car, while Ribarits and Heimgartner will drive the two Astras.
TCR Australia Round 5 will begin on Saturday with practice at 0905 AEST.
All three races will be broadcast live on SBS and via the Shannons Nationals live stream carried by Speedcafe.com.