Russell Ingall’s return from retirement will continue a little longer after he was announced by Prodrive Racing Australia as the replacement for the injured Chaz Mostert at next weekend’s Gold Coast 600 championship round.
The V8 Supercars Championship veteran turned TV broadcast commentator will share the cockpit of the #6 Ford Falcon FG X with Cameron Waters while Mostert continues what is expected to be a lengthy recovery period; the championship contender broke his left wrist and upper leg when he crashed in Friday’s qualifying session at the Bathurst 1000.
Ingall is no stranger to substituting for injured drivers this year. The former champion returned from retirement at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 to drive for the Holden Racing Team after the #2 car’s lead driver, James Courtney, was injured in a freak pit lane accident at the preceding Sydney Motorsport Park round in August.
Courtney is expected to be fit enough to return to the cockpit at Surfers Paradise, opening the door for 51-year-old Ingall to be an unlikely contender for the Prodrive role.
A Holden driver for much of his career, Ingall’s 2005 championship triumph came in the middle of a five-year stint racing Ford Falcons with the Stone Brothers Racing team.
For PRA, the appointment of Ingall will strengthen the team’s line-up as it pursues its maiden Teams’ Championship title; lead driver Mark Winterbottom is an odds-on favourite to claim his first Drivers’ Championship title.
“It’s great to have Russell on board. He has a lot of experience at the Gold Coast circuit which was what we were looking for,” PRA team principal Tim Edwards said.
“Russell has also worked with our car #6 race engineer Adam De Borre so they already know how the other operates which will make the process that much easier.”
Meanwhile, Waters – who currently leads the feeder Dunlop Series points’ race, will drive in Mostert’s place in the upcoming single-driver events at Pukekohe Raceway and Phillip Island. His participation in the season-ending Sydney 500 in December is not yet confirmed.
The drive will give the 21-year-old his first solo outings in the V8 Supercars Championship and an effective opportunity to audition for a full-time drive in 2016.
“I’m really happy that the team has put their faith in me and asked me to race the car at Auckland and Phillip Island,” Waters said.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to prove that I can be competitive in the main game and help the team achieve that teams points championship which is the main aim.”
The Gold Coast 600 takes place on 23-25 October with a pair of 300-kilometre races around the 2.9-kilometre street circuit.
Image via Prodrive Racing Australia
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