Confirmed: Richie Stanaway will return to GRM for the Sandown 500
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It's been confirmed that Kiwi Supercars ace Richie Stanaway will be returning to his post at Garry Rogers Motorsport in the team's No. 33 Supercars Championship entry for the upcoming Penrite Sandown 500 — the final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
In the midst of an incredibly dramatic Vodafone Gold Coast 600, it was revealed suddenly on Sunday morning that Stanaway had been stood down from the GRM squad for failing to show up at a team signing session. It was a move largely unprecedented, and forced the team to pull in TCR Series driver Dylan O'Keefe as a replacement.
It had been thought that the stand down might last the balance of the year, but today the team have announced Stanaway's return.
“He will be (back in the car),” team director Barry Rogers said, speaking to Australian publication Speedcafe.
“It is unfortunate how it played out with regards to it probably being so public, because that certainly isn’t Garry’s style. [...] We’re not ones that rant and rave and carry on at staff where it becomes a public issue, so that’s unfortunate from that point that that’s how the events unfolded.
“I know not everybody can sit down and talk to him and learn the sort of person he is, but he genuinely is a very, very good human being. And, he has feelings and emotions, like every other person in the world.
“Richie is a guy that got to a very high level of motorsport. As we all know, he’s very frustrated in what’s happened, but all I can say is give the guy a bit of a break and let’s hope at Sandown we can find something.”
For Stanaway, Sandown will be a welcome venue for return. It's where he scooped his one and only Supercars race win, alongside Cameron Waters in 2017.
A solid end to the season is required if the Kiwi wants to retain a slot on the grid for next year's championship. GRM has already announced that it will not be returning to the series in 2020, with Matt Stone Racing and Irwin Racing taking over the two surplus Racing Entitlement Contracts.