The Garry Rogers Motorsport team has decided to bench its underperforming import, Alexandre Premat, for next weekend’s final ‘endurance’ round of the V8 Supercars Championship, the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600. His place will be taken by Greg Ritter.
The Frenchman has struggled in his maiden season of V8 Supercars racing, joining the championship as a late sign-up after several years in the DTM championship, from which he was fired by Audi in 2010 after several high-profile crashes.
To-date, the 30-year-old has achieved a best race finish of thirteenth at Symmons Plains, and he lies 26th in the Drivers’ Championship standings amongst the grid’s 28 regular championship drivers.
The writing was on the wall when the team opted to utilise co-driver Jack Perkins to pilot the #33 Holden Commodore during qualifying for the Bathurst 1000. Perkins qualified 26th in the 29-car field, and the pair finish the race in sixteenth place.
Following the disappointing Bathurst showing, team owner Garry Rogers will install Ritter – who partnered with Premat’s GRM team-mate Michael Caruso in the two endurance events this year – in his place for the Gold Coast round.
Ritter – who has been a part of the V8 Supercars landscape for over a decade (mostly as a co-driver) – will share the cockpit with the team’s ‘international class’ driver, Ricky Taylor, in the two-race event at Surfers Paradise.
At this stage, it appears that Ritter’s drive will be a one-off, with the team confirming that Premat will be back behind the wheel for the following championship round at Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, the Kelly Racing stable has confirmed that co-driver Tim Blanchard will replace the injured Todd Kelly for the next three championship rounds at Surfers Paradise, Abu Dhabi and Winton.
Team owner/driver Kelly underwent a successful shoulder operation in the week following the Bathurst 1000, after it was confirmed that the injury he sustained earlier this year required more intensive treatment that would rule him out of action for the rest of the year.
Blanchard and Kelly were paired for this year’s Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 events, finishing 18th overall in the latter.
Blanchard will partner IndyCar race-winner Marco Andretti in the team’s #7 Holden Commodore at next weekend’s ArmorAll Gold Coast 600.