Bathurst: Alex Yoong preview

Yoong Ready For Bathurst 1000 This Weekend as WPS Racing makes bold prediction for the Mount Challenge Malaysian ex-Formula 1 driver, Alex Yoong is ready to take up the Bathurst 1000 km challenge in response to his team boss, Craig Gore, who made ...

Bathurst: Alex Yoong preview

Yoong Ready For Bathurst 1000 This Weekend as WPS Racing makes bold prediction for the Mount Challenge

Malaysian ex-Formula 1 driver, Alex Yoong is ready to take up the Bathurst 1000 km challenge in response to his team boss, Craig Gore, who made his first bullish prediction of the season about the prospects of his two-car Ford team as it prepares to do battle at Mount Panorama in the 10th round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

Gore, the owner of WPS Racing and chairman of its major sponsor Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, said the team was on track to register its highest finish of the season in the toughest race of the year as the WPS Racing 's 2-car team square off against the 35-car entry list.

He said the team was capable of finishing in the top five at the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mount Panorama.

Yoong into the corner with his team-mate at the Sandown 500 km Yoong into the corner with his team-mate at the Sandown 500 km

"I'm not one for making ballsy predications about our prospects for a big result but I can't fault our preparation going into this race," said Gore in his regular Gory's Corner column on the WPS Racing website (www.wps.net.au).

"I always tell it as it is and this time I think we are going to get the result.

"Our engine program is working well and Wal (team engineer Ian Walburn) and Stu (engineer Stuart King) and Keith (team manager Keith Evers) have done a fantastic job to get us into a competitive position.

"The team is ready, the drivers, the cars are ready and I'm so ready that myself and five mates have pooled $100,000 and we've been looking for someone to take a bet on us finishing in the top five.

"We can't get the bet set at the moment but I reckon if we keep on the black stuff and keep out of trouble then maybe a podium finish isn't out of the question."

Gore said he was confident about the prospects of both WPS Racing entries, with Car 23 to be driven by regular season driver David Besnard and New Zealand's John McIntyre and Car 48 to be driven by Alex Yoong and emerging Sydney driver Neil McFadyen.

"Both cars are engineered to identically so there are no excuses," he said.

Besnard has competed at the mountain for the past four years and, despite having led the race on two of those occasions, he is yet to finish the great race.

"It's my fifth trip to Bathurst and this time I'll be looking to finish. If we can do that then the chances are we'll post a good result," said Besnard.

"I've led the race a couple of times and actually looked like winning in my first race there but it wasn't to be."

Besnard will be lining up at Bathurst a day after returning from the US where he was having his second test in a Champ Car to prepare for his pending drive in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.

His co-driver, John McIntyre, is a Kiwi who should get big support from New Zealand motorsport fans who will watch the great race live on television.

"As a co-driver I have a very succinct job. David will do the majority of laps and I'll then drive to the team's instruction," said McIntyre.

"I have been watching Bathurst since I was a five-year-old and it is one of my life dreams to race there.

"I'm not sure if people realise how big this race is in New Zealand. There is a heap of interest over there and quite a few of the drivers from the series are household names."

The drivers in the second WPS Racing entry, Car 48, are similarly enthusiastic about racing at Bathurst.

"I competed in the 24-hour race last year and it's a great track," said Alex Yoong, who joined the team just ahead of the last round at Sandown.

"It is quite a well known circuit internationally and it is a race that I've been looking forward to competing in for some time."

Yoong returned to Australia last week after competing for Mobil 1, with support sponsorship from WPS Racing, in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the new Shanghai International Circuit in China.

He said the experience was enjoyable and he predicted a great race when the V8 Supercar Championship Series travels to China in June next year.

"The crowd was pretty enthusiastic and the track was quite good. I don't think the V8 boys will have any issues adapting to it all next year," he said.

Yoong's Bathurst co-driver, Neil McFadyen, said he was looking forward to returning to Bathurst after a successful Formula Ford campaign there last year.

"I came away from there with a win and a second last year in Formula Ford but this is my first time in a V8 Supercar," said McFadyen.

In an effort to give McFadyen greater track time at Bathurst his team owner, Craig Gore, has negotiated a Konica drive over the Bathurst weekend.

He will compete in a WPS Racing Ford AU in the Konica event.

"It will be like competing in two Bathursts in one weekend," he said.

"It is definitely a big bonus for me to compete in the Konicas as it will give me more miles around Bathurst."

Aside from its two-car Ford team, Wright Patton Shakespeare also sponsors the Safety Car program in both the V8 Supercar Championship Series and Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series.

Get all the history and facts of the Great Race and results from www.v8supercar.com.au .

-ay-

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