UTE: Raj Sharma season preview

Like a Tiger . . . . Like a Tiger . . . . Like a Tiger . . . . With the initiation season of motor racing in his PENTAQ Ford Falcon XR8 V8 BRute under the belt, Raj "The Tiger" Sharma is turning aggressor in season 2003. Last year was very...

Like a Tiger . . . . Like a Tiger . . . . Like a Tiger . . . .

With the initiation season of motor racing in his PENTAQ Ford Falcon XR8 V8 BRute under the belt, Raj "The Tiger" Sharma is turning aggressor in season 2003.

Last year was very much a motor racing education for the Fijian-born Indian as he not only developed his race craft, but also came to grips with the circuits visited by the Poolrite series during 2002. "We have learnt so much in our short time in this competitive series. It is certainly not a gentleman's sport, for it became quickly obvious that everyone was leaning on other cars in order to get past," recounted Sharma.

"Certainly I was on the receiving end of some of this behaviour. But that is the way the game is played and I can give out as good as I have been getting."

Despite that "The Tiger" has shown much of his feline namesake's characteristics, developing stealth and cunning together with a brash turn of speed when needed. Obvious too as the season went on because Sharma was posting top ten finishers and even a top five at the Bathurst 24-Hour non-championship support event. Bolstering his new year plans, SYDNEY UD is onboard for the entire season and will be joined by DuPont and BRIFFA SMASH.

"The tiger may look cute and cuddly, but the animal can be brutal and deadly in an instant. Stir up the 'The Tiger' at your own peril," came the chilling warning.

Sharma's year kicks off with the opening round of the Poolrite V8 BRute series at the Clipsal 500 meeting in Adelaide from March 20-23. It's the only track on the eight-race calendar that he has not driven. "I like the fast street circuits and found the Gold Coast quite comfortable last year. In fact I think Adelaide is not technically as difficult as the Indy circuit," Sharma stated confidently.

He is very optimistic about Adelaide and the other "fast circuits" like Phillip Island, Queensland Raceway and the Gold Coast but conceded tracks such as Winton posed difficulties, "I am still having problems with the slow, stop-start tracks but I am coming to grips with them."

Adelaide marks the start of the promising year that it is hoped will culminate in a bold showing in the Bathurst 24-Hour endurance event. "The race certainly captured my imagination last year and I sure want to be part of it this time around."

-gobrien-

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