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Grove Racing have cars at different ends of the grid but will be one of the main contenders in today’s 2022 Bathurst 1000.

The rookie and professional combination of Matt Payne and Lee Holdswart will line up in their Penrite Racing Ford Mustang on the front row, with sister car led by David Reynolds in his 400th race and Porsche ace Matt Campbell starting from 18th, but both cars showed a promising enough pace to impress.

Holdsworth enjoyed his last chance to take the Shootout lap around Mount Panorama, but continued rain hampered him and he felt “empty” inside.

But the prospect of starting on the front row and defending last year’s win against co-driver-turned-rival Chaz Mostert looms large.

“It was kind of an empty feeling for me because I really wanted to get a top-10 finish in my last Shootout, but I didn’t,” Holdsworth said.

“But they made the right choice because the track was ridiculously bad with the rivers and our cars would probably have aquaplaned in third gear.

“Still a little empty, but very happy to start in the front row.

“We had good speed in the dry, which gives me confidence in the expected mixed conditions.

“It will be a tough race, starting at the front will help us avoid the carnage.

“If we stay calm, we can be there for the rest of the race.”

One of the big questions surrounding the #10 Mustang is who will make the all-important P2 start.

Grove Racing have backed Payne to take over Holdswart’s full-time seat in 2023, but he is still a rookie and it may be a smarter option to start a man with more than 500 races under his belt.

The young Kiwi said Holdswart and the team had done a good job preparing him as best they could for his Grand Prix debut today.

“I’m really excited to make my Bathurst 1000 debut,” he said.

“I’ll be nervous but I know what my job is and I’m focused on getting my way.

“It’s been a busy week working on everything, but we’re prepared as best we can.

“Lee was great at guiding me through the week and helping me stay focused.

“I want to pay him back in the race.”

Drivers Matt Campbell, David Reynolds and team principal David Cocci need to get their heads together and find a way to climb from 18th on the grid. Images: Included

One of the biggest mysteries of qualifying was what happened to the No. 26 of Reynolds and Campbell.

The duo finished in the top five in four of the six practice sessions, but were unable to continue that pace in qualifying as Reynolds struggled to “get the right grip” in the “lottery” session.

The big race is Reynolds’ 400th start, and he knows from experience that you can run The Mountain from anywhere.

“It doesn’t matter where you qualify here at Bathurst, everyone has a chance and I have a comfortable co-driver and a reliable car in a variety of conditions,” he said.

“The worse the conditions, the better the frame we will have.

“I can’t wait to get stuck into it.”

​Although competing at Petit-Le-Mans in America just days before the start of the 2022 Bathurst 1000, Campbell impressed with several fast times in the dry and wet.

Success for the Australian export – the speed he showed this weekend means he has the confidence to move up the grid.

“Not being in the shootout allowed us to focus on our race car and we made a lot of progress,” said Campbell.

“I had fun out there in the wet, we have a strong package in the wet, but we also have a certain compromise in the dry, so regardless of our position and the conditions, we can push forward.

“I really want to bring home a good result with Dave.”

2022 Bathurst 1000 – (161 laps) 11:15am

AUTO ACTION, live report from The Mountain

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