Unexpected Supercars start led to wardrobe malfunction
An unexpected call-up to replace Richie Stanaway at Winton exposed a delicate clothing shortage for Chris Pither.
Garry Rogers Motorsport enduro driver Pither found himself on the grid for Sunday's 200-kilometre race after being called up to replace Stanaway, who was unable to continue due to a neck problem.
The decision, made late on the Saturday evening, forced Pither to extend his stay at the rural Victorian circuit, his original plan to return home to Melbourne following Saturday's additional drivers practice session.
Having effectively been on the road for over for over a week after racing a GRM-run Renault at the TCR Australia opener in Sydney, Pither reckons he arrived at Winton with the bare minimum in terms of clothing – which left him with a delicate problem to solve on the Sunday.
"Nothing had been said about it [in the lead-up]," said Pither. "It was just on Saturday once Richie had had a run, he obviously indicated he was a little bit sore.
"He did everything at the track he could to try and improve it and pressed on, but after the race [on Saturday] he was feeling worse and made the call that it wasn’t in his best interests to persevere with it.
"It was [Saturday] night the decision was made, after [Saturday's] race.
"The biggest drama for me was I wasn’t planning on being here [on Sunday], so I only packed one pair of underwear to come up here – I had to run them inside out today.
"To be honest, I’ve been quite busy, I've had a bit going on, and in this coming week as well, with work and bits and pieces.
"I’ve been away leading up to Winton and the reason I only packed one pair of underwear is because I need to do some chores at home, so I was going to sit at home and watch the [Sunday] race on TV."
Despite his underwear issues, Pither put in a solid performance in the #33 Boost Holden. In what was his first proper hit-out in a Supercar since the Super2 round in Newcastle last year, he went from the back of the 25-car grid to 14th, equalling the best result for the car all season.
"To be honest, Top 15 I think is good," he said.
"If you asked me [Sunday] morning if I’d have been happy with that, I’d have said ‘for sure’.
"We didn’t maximise qualifying, but I knew we had more potential than that, because we were faster in practice.
"The hard thing, I guess, with qualifying for me, to do a lap to your full potential in qualifying conditions, you’ve got to be confident. I didn’t have the confidence with the minimal track time to be able to maximise the lap on my first flyer, which I needed to do.
"Qualifying hurt a fair bit I think, because once I got going in the race and was gauging other cars around me, I actually was matching the speed a long way up the road.
"It did hurt us a bit, but as the race went on I got more and more comfortable and the confidence was growing throughout the race.
"It was solid, the strategy worked well, it was a bit of a handful at the end with a few guys on fresher tyres, but it worked out pretty well.
"There’s no better way to sharpen yourself up for the enduros than doing that. There’s a lot of positives to take out of the day, I’m thankful to the guys for the opportunity."
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