LAST year’s V8 Utes Bathurst round winner, Rhys McNally, will return to Mount Panorama next week after taking a one-round sabbatical.
The West Australian was the fastest on track when he last raced at Townsville in July, taking out the pole award, but was unable to translate that pace into a podium as he crashed.
However, he missed round five at Sandown Raceway last month due to work commitments. It means he is looking forward to hitting the track again.
“After crashing out in Townsville it was disappointing, we should have had a one two finish there,” he said.
“Winning Bathurst last year was awesome. I’m not too worried about the championship now after missing Sandown, so I’m going to push hard to win the round again and get back on the Bathurst podium.”
McNally will join team-mates David Sieders, Jeremy Gray and Bruce Oaklands in the Sieders Racing camp.
David Sieders won his second pole award at the event last year after it was stripped from lap record holder Kris Walton for a parc ferme breach.
The Blue Mountains based steerer is currently running third in the V8 Utes drivers’ championship, one point ahead of Walton, and will carry an extra 20 kilograms next weekend due to the success ballast rule.
Series leader Ryal Harris will also continue to carry an extra 40 kilograms. He will be looking to further his lead and claim his first Bathurst podium since 2012.
The Gold Coaster had a near clean-sweep in both 2011 and 2012, claiming the pole award and two race wins, and going on to win back-to-back V8 Ute titles.
“I’m just playing the points game at the moment, which is all you can do when you’re carrying extra weight,” Harris said.
“Last year we should have won easily, but because I was driving the V8 Supercar in the development series race as well I just couldn’t pull it together. I’ll be solely focused on the ute next weekend.
“I’ll be fast across the top and quick down the hill but just not up the hill. I’m just going to focus on finishing every race and bring it home, hopefully.”
Adam Marjoram remains in second for the series and will also feel the weight up Mountain Straight with his extra 30kg.
Marjoram has a brand new Cragsted engine in his Auto One Holden, and will be hoping for a good result at the mountain.