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Fourth 'felt like a podium' for Payne in Waters battle

Supercars
11 Nov
Kiwi rookie heads to Adelaide off the back of career-best result on Gold Coast
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  • Fourth in Gold Coast finale 'felt like a podium' to Matt Payne

  • Payne missed maiden Supercars podium by just 0.6s in Race 26

  • Penrite Racing rookie finished on Super2 podium in Adelaide last year

Matt Payne says his Gold Coast charge to a career-best finish of fourth behind Ford star Cam Waters “felt like a podium”.

The Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 was a coming of age weekend for the 21-year-old New Zealander, who reached both Top Ten Shootouts.

Such was Payne’s performance, that he out-qualified more experienced teammate David Reynolds, who went on to win Sunday’s race.

Penrite Racing had both Mustangs dialled in despite Reynolds missing valuable laps on Friday due to car troubles, with Payne learning the track.

Come Sunday, and Penrite Racing had both cars in the top four, with Payne missing out on a maiden Supercars podium by just 0.598s to the driver who claimed victory 24 hours earlier.

Payne penalised over chicane run-in with Courtney

It came after Payne raced to ninth in the Saturday race, with his result hampered by a penalty over an incident with Tickford Racing's James Courtney at the beach chicane.

“From my side, we had a really good weekend,” Payne said in a Penrite Racing video.

“Made both of the Shootouts with really good car speed in qualifying.“We probably didn’t quite maximise what we had on the race on Saturday, that penalty I got passing James into the chicane.

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“It was really good on Sunday to come back and get my personal best result which was fourth. Well, it felt like a podium for me when I was right there behind Waters.

“I was trying so hard to pass him. But I couldn’t have been any happier with how I went.”

Payne, who is now based on the Gold Coast, now has momentum and familiarity heading to another street circuit at the VAILO Adelaide 500.

payne gold coast 2023

Despite the close proximity of the walls and the big kerbs on the Gold Coast, Payne was undaunted by the challenge, with his confidence backed up by his results.

He has previous Supercar experience in Adelaide, recording a podium at last year’s Dunlop Series finale.

“The first practice session was pretty hard, I haven’t done many street tracks in my life,” he said.

“The walls are close, the kerbs are big.. I thought it was cool, rather than challenging.

“It was really special, but we had really good pace, we rolled out fast."

Payne is 14th in the drivers' standings heading to the VAILO Adelaide 500, which will be held on November 23-26.

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