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First Bathurst podium a 'relief' for De Pasquale

Supercars
10 Oct
Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto first of four Fords in top six in 2023 Great Race
2 mins by James Pavey
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  • Anton De Pasquale relieved to score first Repco Bathurst 1000 podium

  • Tony D'Alberto takes first podium since 2017, DJR its first since 2019

  • De Pasquale leads quartet of Fords from third to sixth

Anton De Pasquale was relieved to secure his first Repco Bathurst 1000 podium amid a backdrop of drama and a run of Mount Panorama outs.

De Pasquale, in his sixth Great Race start, combined with Tony D’Alberto to deliver the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s first Bathurst podium since it won in 2019.

It was a bright spark on an otherwise tricky day for the famous Ford team, which ran three cars in this year’s Great Race.

Will Davison/Alex Davison had a troubled run and brought the #17 home in 16th, with the Simona De Silvestro/Kai Allen wildcard crossing the line 20th.

With fellow Ford driver Cam Waters recording a DNF due to co-driver James Moffat’s crash, De Pasquale moved to seventh in the drivers’ standings as the team consolidated fourth in the standings.

The podium was a reward for a strong week for the #11 crew, with De Pasquale third in Friday qualifying and fifth in Saturday’s Shootout.

Recap: Race 24 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000

For De Pasquale, the trophy was a “relief” after previous Bathurst results of 24th, DNF, ninth, DNF and seventh, as well as the pre-race weekend noise surrounding parity — a topic he shut down when asked if third felt like a win.

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“We worked hard at this one,” said De Pasquale, who was 33.0867s from victory on Sunday.

“We felt we had a good race car all week, similar to Shane [van Gisbergen, race winner], we spent a lot of time doing a lot of race runs.

“I felt like we maximised our day, which is what I said a couple of days ago in qualifying, and we’re third.

“It feels good. It’s a relief, but it doesn’t feel like a win.”

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It was another impressive, yet unheralded driver by reigning TCR Australia champion D’Alberto, who added to his 2017 podium with the Ford team.

“I’ve been with this team for eight years, I love this group of people,” the 2007 development series champion said.

“To repay them with a podium today… they’ve worked really hard this year, they’ve worked hard to get the car to the front of the field.”

When asked if he thought he would get a podium, D’Alberto replied: “I thought maybe top five, but trophy was a stretch.”

De Pasquale will resume his 2023 season at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 in three weeks’ time.

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