V8SDS: Decina Racing Bathurst Saturday notes

CHAMPIONSHIP TOP FIVE FOR DECINA RACING A courageous round six performance by Speed FX/Decina Racing driver Michael Caruso at Bathurst's famed Mt Panorama circuit has pushed him inside the top five of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship ...

CHAMPIONSHIP TOP FIVE FOR DECINA RACING

A courageous round six performance by Speed FX/Decina Racing driver Michael Caruso at Bathurst's famed Mt Panorama circuit has pushed him inside the top five of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship Series.

The 23 year-old Sydney-sider started from the fourth row of the grid in this afternoon's second race following an eighth placing in yesterday's 14-lap opening feature.

Some minor set-up changes overnight had instilled even more confidence among the team and the general feeling was that the Decina Falcon would enjoy a favourable outcome.

That seemed the case as Caruso guided his #60 Falcon into sixth position by lap five, only to be instructed by officials to complete a drive-through penalty after a coming together on lap two with Shannon O'Brien at Griffins Bend.

The ensuing penalty meant Caruso joined the field in 18th position but again he knuckled down to the task over the concluding stages to snare 10th for the race and an overall eighth for the round.

Reinforcing the belief in the capabilities of the car, Caruso rocketed his ride to the quickest lap time on his second last attempt.

"We just don't seem to be able to take a trick and again it's disappointing not to have completed the job for the Speed FX/Decina team particularly when we all knew we had a good car this weekend," confirmed Caruso.

"But with other results going our way we're now a position to push for a Championship podium and to do that we have to put in a big effort at Phillip Island on December 8-10.

"It was great to finally race here at Mt Panorama and I know my driving will only improve from the experience.

"It's been an educational season for me and we now have one last crack at some success so I know the team is looking forward to finishing the season on a high."

For team owner Jim Morton the report card for his young driver was again very positive as he pinpointed the major positives from the penultimate round of the Fujitsu Series.

"Unfortunately we had a 50-50 call go against us and even the other driver agreed it was the wrong call but we'll cop it on the chin and look forward," said Morton.

"To Michael's credit he came back well from deep within the field and even managed to set the quickest time of the race.

"He's shown genuine maturity and race sense here this weekend and with the overall pace we enjoyed I'm sure the package will be solid at Phillip Island."

Caruso's eighth placing in yesterday's opening race was another example of his hard charging ways as he again moved on the front-runners from 11th position on the start grid.

The stop/start affair was pulled short on lap 13 of 14 following a serious accident on the top of the mountain.

Round honours for the weekend went to 19 year-old Ford campaigner Andrew Thompson who was hardly challenged out in front during both races while Holden's Shane Price and Tony D'Alberto filled the minor placings.

**Michael Caruso had his first opportunity to drive in the V8 Supercar main series today when he completed 14 laps in the #12 Team BOC car during this morning's practice session of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

-credit: dr

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