Inside the Wildcard: Scene set for the big one
THE SCENE is set for the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000, with the Caltex Young Stars locked in to the field and ready to race following another productive day of practice on Saturday. Here’s how their Saturday played out, according to TRT’s Erin McCarthy.
ONCE AGAIN the Caltex Young Star team, Jay Robotham and Matt Chahda took to the Mount Panorama circuit for two more practice sessions.
The first session was a co-driver only session. Robotham took to the track under wet conditions, where all drivers struggled for grip and another two red flags were issued over the duration of the session. The rain was preferred for The Caltex Young Star team, as Robotham was yet to compete in a session in the wet conditions.
“After doing that I am much more confident for if it is a wet race, it would have been bad if I didn’t get any practice and it was wet in the race,” Robotham explained.
Robotham finished P23 with a 2m28.718 lap time in the co-driver session, making the team extremely happy to be moving up positions with the drivers adapting to the car and rainy conditions. Robotham at the end of the day detailed that, “[it] went well, got out in the wet which was good … took me a bit to get used to it all.”
Just in time for the Supercars driving session, the sky opened and dedicated fans were left to stand in the pouring rain to meet the drivers. Robotham and Chahda enjoyed the opportunity to sign posters and take pictures with fans, under an abundance of umbrellas.
Along with the signing sessions, the duo also took part in several interviews with Supercars TV.
Practice 6 started in damp and challenging conditions but the track dried out rather quickly. Robotham started the session, and stayed out until the track dried enough for slicks.
“We went out in wets but then Matt came in and we swapped drivers and Matt did the rest of the session,” Robotham explained. Chahda completed a fastest lap time of 2m08:182. Chahda outlined after the session that, “Yeah the car is good, don’t have to mess with it very much I would say.”
When asked about the pace, Robotham explained: “Just over skyline, there is a bit in me to find. And a tiny bit into the chase. It’s risk verses reward: we don’t want to be fencing it.”
Chahda believed that “[he] knows conditions are going to be the question mark on really how it [the race] goes.”
“Yeah, looking forward to tomorrow,” Robotham confirmed, “Whatever the conditions are, it is going to be interesting.”
With the awful rain conditions, teams were left unknowing as to whether the Top 10 Shootout was going to go ahead.
In the hour leading up to the shootout, drains were filling and paddocks turned to mud with the heavy downpour, leaving the decision of whether it was going to go ahead or not, up to the race officials. After inspecting the circuit, it was ultimately announced that the Top 10 will be cancelled, leaving disappointed fans everywhere to leave the circuit in the pouring rain and deep mud.
When asked about how the drivers were going to be preparing over night for 6.213km race tomorrow, Chahda explained.
“Sleep, lots of sleep,” was the only thing on his agenda.
Robotham agreed, saying: “Getting a good nights sleep, and try not to wear myself out too much during the day.”
Strategies for tomorrow’s race are yet to be confirmed for the Caltex Young Star team. However, when asked about who may be starting the race tomorrow, Chahda did outline that “Originally we were talking me, but again that’s really down to the engineer.”
The drivers will be making an appearance in the drivers parade at 8:35am tomorrow morning, followed by the race commencing at 11:15am.