Top 10 with bullet
MOTOR racing driver Andrew Thompson hopes his top 10 placing at Bathurst on Sunday will help catapult him back into the V8 Supercar series on a permanent basis next year.
Thompson, who grew up at Byron Bay, made the most of his opportunity to partner Tony D'Alberto in the No 55 Bottle-O Racing Team Holden Commodore.
He was offered the drive in June and had previously competed in the car only at Phillip Island last month.
But he and D'Alberto, who knew each other fairly well from their karting days, formed a strong bond and got the best out of a car that was short on straight-line power after a bingle with a lapped car left them with exhaust and fuel pump problems in the second half of the race.
“It was obviously a tough race and to come away with a top 10 result was awesome,” Thompson said.
“If a little bit more luck had fallen our way we were definitely aiming for top five.”
Thompson was in the driver's seat at the finish and was right in the mix as Jason Bargwanna was pushed off the track by Ford star Jamie Whincup in the final few laps.
“I was hoping that a few of them would come together and I would be there to pick up the pieces,” he said.
“To still be in the lead lap and be there at the end near the leaders was awesome.”
It's a classic rags to riches story for Thompson, who's been working in real estate on the Gold Coast for the past six months after not being able to secure a team drive this year.
His 10th placing on Sunday is in stark contrast to his Bathurst campaign last year, which was over before it began when his co-driver Paul Weel crashed in practice.
Thompson was still in the process of packing up and leaving Bathurst when The Northern Star spoke to him yesterday, but hopes his drive will help him cement a permanent spot in a team next year.
“I've been talking to people all year and I'm hoping that soon I might be able to get something sorted,” he said.
“Sunday certainly showed what I can do, but it has been a tough year, this last year, for various reasons.
“I'm certainly trying to crack back into the series.
“I've been using my spare time to get some experience in the property side of things, but I'm hoping to get something sorted by the end of the month.”