The Tiger has put the Hammer down . . . as his co-driver for the Great Aussie Ute races that are supporting the Bathurst 24-Hour.
The "Tiger" aka Raj Sharma has enlisted fellow Ford V8 BRute driver Steve Briffa (with the tag "Hammer" inherited from Michael Brock whose ute Briffa raced a couple of times) to partner him on Mount Panorama next Friday and Saturday.
The pair will share the Pentaq Computers/Sydney UD/DuPont Refinish Ford Falcon XR8 that has raced all year. "We have finally gotten on top of our power deficit, which was found to be a detonated piston," said Sharma at the recent Indy GP final round.
"But we also had other problems there, which were spring related," he added despite breaking into the top fifty per cent of qualifying for the first time in season 2003, "They will be well and truly sorted by the time with hit the mount."
Typical of his computer background, Sharma has employed a systematical analysis of the problem areas and subsequently applied methodical solutions.
"Bathurst was good for our team last year. We came away with a sixth and fifth placing in the two races and I am confident of a good result this time around," he said.
The format is different this year with a race for each driver and then a race with obligatory driver change, in the same vein as at the Sandown 500 last year.
Sharma had done it before, but V8 BRute racing is all very new for Briffa. However the proprietor of Briffa Smash Repairs at Moorebank in Sydney's southwest is not lacking in motor racing experience.
With fifteen years in Sports Sedans including two state championships and a couple of six-hour relay victories, it doesn't make for bad credentials.
He dabbled in GTP in the category's early days and has had two races in V8 BRutes this year. "It's a tough category, there is no doubt it involves a lot of push and shove. But you can't race like that at Bathurst," Briffa reasons.
"That place commands far more respect. You are not so much racing the opposition, but the track itself!"