Grove's warning to rivals with fast Fords

02 Apr
"We definitely now have a car that we think will be quick everywhere through the rest of the season"
  • Penrite Racing car will be "quick everywhere", says Stephen Grove

  • Richie Stanaway sixth, Matt Payne seventh in points after Round 2

  • Payne scored two podiums and a pole at Albert Park

Penrite Racing Fords have been getting faster and faster this season, and team owner Stephen Grove expects little to change throughout 2024.

The Ford squad is second in the teams' standings, with recruit Richie Stanaway impressing with P4 in the first race of the season in Bathurst, before Matt Payne was a standout at Albert Park.

Payne opened the weekend with two podiums, before claiming a maiden pole for the Saturday race.

The young Kiwi led the final two races, only to be caught up in collisions — one with Cam Waters that led to a DNF, and another with Chaz Mostert that saw Payne finish 14th.

Critically, Stanaway opened the AGP weekend with finishes of 12th and 13th, before improving as the weekend wore on to finish seventh and eighth.

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While more trophies eluded the team, Grove is confident his team’s package will be “quick everywhere” as the season wears on.

“The positive note from the weekend is the car has a lot of speed. The negative is the driving standards are pretty bad,” Grove said after the AGP weekend.

“Both Matty Payne and Richie Stanaway performed well but the outcome on the weekend was unfortunately taken out of their hands.

“Matty has come a long way now and he will be up there challenging for wins for the rest of his Supercars career. Richie is building and building, and every race on the weekend he got stronger.

"We definitely now have a car that we think will be quick everywhere through the rest of the season.”

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Team Principal David Cauchi echoed Grove’s comments, saying that while seeing potential wins go begging “hurts a lot”, the team is in a “very, very good place” heading to New Zealand with two fast Fords.

"With the speed we had, it's really disappointing to not get a few more podiums,” Cauchi said.

"And certainly, there was a race win there to be grabbed. But, we weren't able to get it.

"Taken out, I guess, two days in a row from the lead. It hurts a lot.

“But, the best thing is we've got car speed. We've got two hungry drivers. So, from a team perspective, we're in a very, very good place.”

Stanaway and Payne are sixth and seventh, 223 and 242 points down, heading to the ITM Taupō Super400 on April 19-21.

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