D'Alberto chases victory in enduro
V8 SUPERCAR drivers swap the V8s for karts on Saturday, but the competition will be just as fuel-blown as ever.
The TAG 125 Karts Enduro is on at the Gladstone Kart Club track, and will be one of the highlights of the CQ MotorMania extravaganza.
V8 drivers Tony D'Alberto, Jack Perkins and Tim Slade, from Stone Bros Racing, and Ryal Harris will be teaming up with karters for the event.
The enduro will follow a Bathurst-style racing format, with qualifying, a top-10 shootout, the Australian anthem before the race, and the V8 chaplain giving the blessing.
The event starts at 9am and qualifying, where the big boys take to the track, begins at 2pm.
D'Alberto said he was not coming just to make up the numbers – he was looking to take the chequered flag.
“I'm coming to win the whole event, and will have my head down trying,” he said.
“I really enjoy karting. I try to get behind the wheel of a kart a couple of times a year, and it's good to get the opportunity to take part in a well-organised enduro.
“It's always good to get back to the grassroots of motor sport.”
D'Alberto, who will partner Matt Dicinoski, said he was more concerned with the local karters than his V8 Supercar counterparts.
“They'll be the ones to beat,” he said. .
Getting the kart right will be one of his priorities.
“The last few enduros I've raced in I haven't taken them as seriously as I could have but this one we'll be looking at lap times and tweaking the kart,” D'Alberto said.
“If you're in a good position with half an hour to go and the kart is running well, you can then have a real shot.
“It's like Bathurst on a smaller scale – it's not the first few hours that count, but the last.”
D'Alberto spent eight years racing karts before changing to formula Ford.
“I learnt a lot and it's the cheapest motor sport to be involved in,” he said.
Local karter Johnny Grother, in good form after his NT title win recently, is racing with Matty Rayment in the enduro.
“We'll split the time behind the wheel 50/50,” Grother said.
The Supercar drivers won't have it all their own way, and knowledge of the track will go a long way to deciding the enduro winner, he said.
“I think the local guys will feature prominently in the racing.
“I've seen the driver combinations and they'll be hard to beat.”
Grother is looking forward to the fun event, and said he wouldn't be taking the enduro too seriously.
“I'll be just as keen to lap up the social atmosphere on the day as the racing,” he said.
CIK series leader Cian Fothergill will take part and Gerard Battye's Two4Tuning team will be among the local contingent.