Dane hails 'exceptional' Bamber

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/10/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam

Roland Dane believes Triple Eight's international recruit Earl Bamber has been "exceptional" in each of his first two Supercars outings.

A two-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner, Bamber has joined fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.

The pair finished second at Sandown, Bamber's Supercars' debut, and then fifth at Bathurst, helping van Gisbergen's title bid.

Bamber's Mount Panorama contribution included a charge from 16th to sixth mid-race after a slow brake rotor change.

While the 28-year-old has four Bathurst 12 Hour starts to his name in Porsches, wet weather and problems with the Super2 entry he shared limited pre-race Supercars miles.

"The guy's just outstanding," Dane said of Bamber.

"To me, when you take into account his Supercars experience especially, and his Bathurst experience which is limited to a couple of 12 Hours - but not necessarily many laps because he's part of a four-driver crew - that was probably the outstanding co-driver performance of the weekend.

"But particularly that stint where he had to push on, and he did. He was very effective, didn't get into strife, didn't get into trouble, he just passed people.

"He was exceptional. He was exceptional at Sandown, we'll see at the Gold Coast but hopefully he can deliver a great enduro season for us."

Bamber will pair this weekend's final leg of the Enduro Cup with the Porsche Carrera Cup round at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600, to help learn the street circuit.

It could, though, be Bamber's last Supercars outing in the short-term at least following last week's release of the 2019 calendar.

Next year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will be run on October 10-13, the same weekend as the Petit Le Mans season finale of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

That US-based championship has been Bamber's primary factory Porsche role this year, following the end of its LMP1 World Endurance Championship program.

Van Gisbergen and Bamber head to the Gold Coast second in the Enduro Cup standings, behind Triple Eight team-mates and Bathurst winners Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards.

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell are still in contention despite losing a wheel at Bathurst, having led a sweep of the Sandown podium for the factory Holden squad.

Triple Eight entered this year's Enduro Cup keen to make amends for its below-par run across the three races in 2017.

"Much better," Dane said of its 2018 form.

"It's still a long way from perfect, but much better than last year."

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