Great news for MINI CHALLENGE fans with confirmation that Paul Stokell and Grant Denyer will be back chasing the 2009 title with DecoRug Racing.
Defending champion Neil McFadyen will have his work cut out with the fancied DecoRug duo determined to make amends for 2008’s promising, but ultimately disappointing, season.
Bill Gremos, DecoRug Racing team owner, is backing his charges all the way, “If Grant had remained fit, I have no doubt we would have won the Series and Paul would have finished behind him. We had a lot of bad luck throughout the year, but despite all of that, we led the Series for most of the way and Paul had a sniff at taking the Title at the final round. This time we want both cars to be at the front all the way through the year.”
It’s a great sign for Grant Denyer, too, now back to full fitness after his injury scare last year. “There is definitely some unfinished business I need to attend to in MINI Challenge and I intend to do that right from round one at the Grand Prix,” he said.
The 2009 MINI CHALLENGE begins in just nine days with practice sessions starting on 26 March as part of the Formula 1™ ING Australian Grand Prix. A full calendar of races can be seen HERE.
DENYER, STOKELL & DECORUG DECLARE: MINI CHALLENGE TITLE IS OURS
SYDNEY – March 16, 2009: After narrowly missing out on last year’s MINI Challenge Series win, DecoRug Racing returns in 2009 with Seven Network personality, Grant Denyer and multiple Australian Champion – Paul Stokell – spearheading its attack and this time – second isn’t good enough.
Team owner and Managing Director of the nationwide floor coverings chain, Bill Gremos, will not settle for anything less than perfection after the events of 2008.
“If Grant had remained fit, I have no doubt we would have won the Series and Paul would have finished behind him,” the mercurial team owner said. “We had a lot of bad luck throughout the year, but despite all of that, we led the Series for most of the way and Paul had a sniff at taking the Title at the final round.
“This time we want both cars to be at the front all the way through the year.”
The Sydney-sider once again signing the two high profile drivers has shown he means business and bolsters the MINI Challenge line-up as it heads into its second season on the national motor racing scene.
For Denyer, the convalescence after fracturing several vertebrae in a Monster Truck crash in September is now complete. The Seven Network television personality was a revelation in MINI Challenge last year and is now back to full racing fitness. Having competed in the Bathurst 12 Hour a couple of weekends ago, he will get his eye in for the Grand Prix this weekend at the Clipsal 500 in the V8 Supercar Development Series.
“I’m fighting fit and ready to pick up where I left off last year,” the gritty Denyer said. “There is definitely some unfinished business I need to attend to in MINI Challenge and I intend to do that right from round one at the Grand Prix.
“The MINI is a sensational racecar and the race team Bill turns out is incredibly professional and equal to that anywhere in the country.”
The return to MINI Challenge for Stokell, too, is a case of picking up where he left off and the experienced Brisbane-based driver trainer is leaving no stone unturned in his preparations.
“Last year was a tough season for us, for sure,” Stokell reflected. “We had a lot of bad luck and a few problems here and there, but by the end of the season, we were right where we wanted to be and showed some fantastic pace.
“2008 is in the past and I’m aiming to be right up the front from the beginning of the year. If it’s Grant that I’m battling with at the head of the pack, then it can only be a good thing for Bill and DecoRug.”
Melbourne Performance Centre will once again prepare the blue missiles and MINI Challenge will feature as a key part of DecoRug’s marketing strategy for 2009, as it did last year.
The last word, though, remains with team owner Bill Gremos, who is excited for the Grand Prix in less than two weeks time.
“It’s a great way to start the season at the Formula 1™ Grand Prix and that will be an amazing event for MINI Challenge,” Bill said. “We’re eagerly awaiting that first meeting and we will go one better in 2009. I can’t wait!”
MINI Challenge utilises identical 211 horsepower MINI John Cooper Works Challenge racecars. The Series in 2009 will run alongside the V8 Supercar Championship Series with feature events at the Formula 1™ ING Australian Grand Prix, Townsville 400, Gold Coast SuperGP and the Sydney 400 Grand Finale at Homebush.