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Supercars investigating Queensland co-driver hub

Simon Chapman

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Saturday 22nd August, 2020 - 6:00am

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Victorian co-drivers may quarantine in Queensland before heading to New South Wales for the Bathurst 1000

Some Supercars co-drivers may quarantine before joining teams in their respective Queensland hubs ahead of this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Michael Caruso (Tickford Racing), James Moffat (Tickford Racing), Tony D’Alberto (DJR Team Penske), James Golding (Team 18), and Garth Tander (Triple Eight Race Engineering) are all currently residing in Victoria.

Thomas Randle (Brad Jones Racing), who typically resides in Melbourne, moved temporarily to the Australian Capital Territory and then onto Queensland where he has been based in anticipation of this year’s Great Race.

Victoria is in the midst of a so-called second wave of coronavirus, which has led to several states closing their borders and declaring it a hotspot.

As it stands, the Queensland border is closed to Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory.

Those from the aforementioned states who wish to enter Queensland will have to apply for a border pass.

While Queensland remains open to West Australia, Kurt Kostecki (Walkinshaw Andretti United) and Dean Fiore (Team 18) are also likely to be affected by coronavirus travel restrictions.

Under the current rules, once the West Australia-based pair have been in New South Wales they would not be allowed to re-enter their home state, even as residents.

Speedcafe.com understands Supercars is looking at having Victorian co-drivers possibly move temporarily to Queensland.

Once there, they would complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine before joining their respective teams at their Brisbane and Gold Coast hubs.

The teams and drivers would then head to New South Wales for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which is currently scheduled for October 8-11. However, the event may be pushed back a week to allow teams additional time to prepare their cars.

Following the conclusion of the Bathurst 1000, drivers from Victoria could return home without having to quarantine.

With the Bathurst 1000 roughly two months away pending a possible date change, Supercars is working with the relevant government authorities.

“Supercars is continuing work on plans regarding co-driver activity prior to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000,” a Supercars spokesperson told Speedcafe.com.

“It’s still a work in progress and we will update in due course.”

Team 18 owner Charlie Schwerkolt said he is still planning to have his drivers Golding and Fiore compete in this year’s Great Race alongside Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye respectively.

“We’ve been in constant contact with both drivers and obviously they’re both going to quarantine,” said Schwerkolt.

“Either way, one on the way in, and one on the way out potentially. We’re just working through that.

“I think there’s half a dozen drivers in Melbourne and they might be bunched up together.

“Dean, he may have to quarantine on the way home and go through a few things there. We’re just working that out when and what and how.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering team manager Mark Dutton said the team has no desire to look outside of its current line-up.

He said Shane van Gisbergen’s co-driver Tander will quarantine to compete in this year’s race.

“They’re well prepared to do that as well,” Dutton said of a quarantine period.

“We can always react and have a plan B or Z, or whatever you want to call that plan.

“But for sure, Garth, he’s as committed as ever and he’s as keen as ever to get in that car and race with us.

“So, for sure, he’s prepared to do what it takes to be part of that.”

Tickford Racing boss Tim Edwards said he is awaiting direction from Supercars.

“We’re waiting for guidance from Supercars, they’re the ones working with the relevant government authorities, whether it’s New South Wales or Queensland,” said Edwards.

“It’ll all depend on when we need them if they’re doing any practice before or anything like that.

“All of that is obviously being determined at the moment. We have no clear plans yet until we understand what the parameters are and when they would need to quarantine in New South Wales or Queensland, et cetera.

“We’ll just wait for Supercars to do their homework and get the relevant answers from the government authorities.

“It’s a bit hard to make plans at the moment. We’re figuring out what we’re doing next week, let alone what we’re doing in two months’ time.

“It is in the back of our minds and there is some work going on in the background, but am I booking flights or anything like that at the moment? Absolutely not. I need more details.”

If coronavirus travel restrictions are insurmountable, it may mean teams are forced to look outside their respective line-ups for new co-drivers.

Several teams have yet to announce co-driver line-ups, including the two-car Kelly Racing line-up, three of four Brad Jones Racing entries, and both Team Sydney entries.

The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is currently scheduled for October 8-11 but may be pushed back to October 15-18.

2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship driver/co-driver line-up

Shell V Power Racing Team
Scott McLaughlin Tim Slade
Fabian Coulthard Tony D’Alberto
Red Bull Holden Racing Team
Jamie Whincup Craig Lowndes
Shane van Giserbergen Garth Tander
Tickford Racing
Cameron Waters TBC
Lee Holdsworth TBC
Jack Le Brocq TBC
James Courtney Broc Feeney
Penrite Racing
David Reynolds Will Brown
Anton de Pasquale Brodie Kostecki
Walkinshaw United
Chaz Mostert Warren Luff
Bruce Fullwood Kurt Kostecki
Brad Jones Racing
Nick Percat Thomas Randle
Todd Hazelwood TBC
Macauley Jones TBC
Jack Smith TBC
Team18
Mark Winterbottom James Golding
Scott Pye Dean Fiore
Kelly Racing
Rick Kelly TBC
Andre Heimgartner TBC
Matt Stone Racing
Garry Jacobson David Russell
Zane Goddard Jake Kostecki
Team Sydney
Alex Davison TBC
Chris Pither TBC

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