Team HIFLEX will sport new branding on the rear quarter panels of its #3 Ford Falcon FG at the Sandown 500 this weekend, with the team running the ’50 Years of Bathurst’ logos for next month’s Bathurst 1000.
This weekend marks the first of the two-driver endurance races, with Tony D’Alberto and Dale Wood teaming up for the second year in a row.
While the return to the Sandown 500 will be D’Alberto and Wood’s main priority this weekend, the team has dedicated the rear quarter panels of its HIFLEX-backed Ford to help promote this year’s Bathurst 1000 – the 50th year of touring car endurance racing at the famous Mount Panorama circuit.
The #3 Ford will be seen with the ’50 Years’ branding at both the Sandown and Bathurst events.
D’Alberto is currently on a qualifying hot streak, with the 16th best overall qualifying average of all competitors. More so, since Townsville, D’Alberto has an average qualifying position of 12th, including a career-best of fifth at the Townsville street track.
D’Alberto is hoping that Wood and himself can turn that one lap pace into a top result at Sandown this weekend.
The V8 Supercars will hit the track for this weekend’s Dick Smith Sandown 500 on Friday for practice ahead of a complex qualifying format where the main drivers will qualify the cars, determining the grid position for a ‘co-driver’ only race. The finishing order of that race sets the grid for a final qualifying race for the main drivers. The finishing positions will determine the starting order for the Dick Smith Sandown 500.
Sunday’s 500km race, to be run over 161 laps, starts at 1.35pm.
Tony D’Alberto (team driver)
“The idea behind running the 50 Years of Bathurst stickers on our car is to pay our respect for what is a massive event in Australian sport,” D’Alberto said.
“We’ve had some good results at Bathurst in the past, and all of our team loves the history and tradition behind the race, so this is our way of honouring such a great event, and promoting it ahead of next month.
“Everyone at V8 Supercars is putting in a lot of effort to raise the awareness for what will be a historic occasion.”
D’Alberto on qualifying and race speed
“Our qualifying of late has been really strong – stronger than our race results,” D’Alberto said.
“Our focus this weekend will be to have a strong race car, especially when you have to back it up 161 times.
“Dale is up to speed. We’ve had a great preparation in the lead-up to these races. It will be up to us to have a really clean day and attack when the time is right.”
Dale Wood (team co-driver)
“I drove with the team last year, but this will be my first 500km race with Tony. He went down chickenpox last year the day before the 500km race at Phillip Island, so hopefully he doesn’t contract any disease this time!” said Dale Wood.
“We finished ninth together at Bathurst last year, so anything inside the top 10 will be fantastic.
“I feel ready. I’m coming off a strong Development Series race at Queensland Raceway (finishing sixth overall), so it’s always nice to go into these big races with a bit of confidence.
“Tony and I have formed a very good rapport over the past year. We’ve been able to train all year and build towards it.”