The candles could be burning much brighter for some of Australia's V8 Supercar drivers if they are successful during this year's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne on September 12-14. Current championship leader, Pirtek Racing's Marcos ...
The candles could be burning much brighter for some of Australia's V8 Supercar drivers if they are successful during this year's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne on September 12-14.
Current championship leader, Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose only yesterday celebrated his 27th birthday, while the coming of age of Castrol Perkins Racing young gun Paul Dumbrell has ironically transpired on the very same day.
But their list of achievements in 2003 have been somewhat different with Ambrose riding a wave of successes and buoyed by five round wins, while Dumbrell searches for consistency in his first full season in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series.
"Well we're both Virgo's so I'd like to read plenty into that and hope I'm moving closer to sampling some of Marcos's fortune," said Dumbrell, who last year clinched the Konica V8 series title.
"He's already shown everyone what it's all about and that's consistency.
"I'm currently placed well down in the field which is very disappointing but I'm learning a lot this year and I made a lot of mistakes early on which has cost the team vital Championship points.
"But we're putting it together much better now and have been clocking up the points lately and showing improved race pace which is a positive sign."
At such an important time of the year moving into the first of the endurance rounds, Dumbrell is keen to put any major celebrations on hold for another two weeks.
"We've still got a lot of work to do in the lead up to the 500 with pit stop practices and everything else so that's the major priority at the moment," said Dumbrell who will team with Tomas Mezera during the Betta Electrical Sandown 500.
"We'll be testing today which is really going to help with the preparation and Tomas has a wealth of experience which will help in these big races.
"The goal at the moment is to finish the year with a big bang so it'd be nice to make it a double celebration after Sandown."
Castrol Perkins Racing will carry the young gun tag through Dumbrell's probable allocation in the VX Commodore while team manager Larry Perkins is likely to suit up with Steven Richards in the VY Commodore to add plenty of depth and experience to the team's endurance assault.
"With Larry driving again it's very exciting and he's told the team that he won't finalise anything until start time at Sandown.
"Larry likes to keep his cards close to his chest and I suppose it's that sort of situation that creates even greater anticipation towards these big races.
"Steve is currently well placed in the top 10 of the Championship and for me it has to be a good thing being involved with a team boasting so much experience.
Another driver who'll shelve his September six birthday celebrations until after the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 is Shell Helix Racing's Steve Johnson.
Johnson is hoping to resurrect a disappointing season over the next five weeks when he teams with V8 BRutes regular Warren Luff during the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 and Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 endurance double.