Great story on the V8 Supercar Website after a successful test with HRT last week leading up to my return at the Sandown 500 11-13 September.
Russell Ingall believes he and Jack Perkins will be in the top half of the field at next week’s Wilson Security Sandown 500, after a positive test day at Winton last Thursday.
‘The Enforcer’ has come out of retirement to co-drive with Perkins, the Holden Racing Team driver line-up shaken up after regular #22 driver James Courtney’s freak accident at Sydney Motorsport Park.
While Courtney nurses two broken ribs and a collapsed lung, 51-year old Ingall is taking charge – and settled in like he’d never been gone on Thursday, when he drove the HRT #22 for the first time.
“It was everything I probably excepted – the memories flood back, it’s only been six months since I’ve been out of the car, so after a dozen laps you sort of get your eye in, you know where everything’s heading,” Ingall said of stepping into the #22.
“By the end, myself and Jack were lapping around the same sorts of times – competitive times. It’s not like we’re miles off the pace, and we’ll pick that up as well.
“I can’t see any reason we can’t be competitive there [at Sandown]. It’d be foolish to say we’d go out and win the thing, but we’re definitely going to be in the top half of the field, that’s for sure.”
Team boss Adrian Burgess agreed that Ingall slipped back into the team as if he’d never left.
“Russell is like putting on an old pair of socks – and he smells like that some days,” Burgess told v8supercars.com.au.
“He dropped back in seamlessly … and that was part of the reason to ask Russell to help us out. He was straight on it straight away, he understood the cabin, all the driver controls.
“It was good having Russell … he might be getting on a bit but he hasn’t forgotten what to do.”
And Ingall definitely hasn’t lost that competitive streak either.
“You never know with this race,” he said of the 500.
“I’ve been to Sandown plenty of times and it’s unpredictable – sunny one moment, raining the next, so throw a bit of rain in. Jack’s had both conditions at Sydney Motorsport Park a few weeks ago, he’s had wet and dry which is handy. He’s had a full round under his belt too, which a lot of the other co-drivers didn’t get [bar Marcos Ambrose], so he’s ahead of the game.
“So I reckon we’re in pretty good shape so far.”
While Ingall and Perkins have driven together before, it’s Jack’s father Larry who Ingall had the most success with – the two won Bathurst in 1995 and ’97, the former from the rear of the grid.
A seat at Walkinshaw Racing is also a step back into the recent past – though Ingall was at the wheel of the Supercheap Auto Commodore, and never thought he’d make it to Team Red.
“It’s great to be back with Jack again – obviously there’s a lot of family history there with Jack’s dad and it’s quite ironic we’re heading to Sandown where myself and Larry had a lot of success … so that’s going to be pretty special to have the Perkins-Ingall names reunited.
“And back in a Holden as well – Larry was a big Holden man! So a lot of coincidences there, it’s quite good, a good story.”
Burgess said the co-drivers completed between 50 and 90 laps in what was a successful test for the Walkinshaw Racing stable.
The team completed a debrief and analysis of its findings at the workshop last Friday, a week out from the Wilson Security Sandown 500.