Wednesday, Jun 12 09:08am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Chris Pither to replace injured Richie Stanaway at Darwin

Garry Rogers Motorsport will field Chris Pither for the second time this season as ongoing neck issues hamper Richie Stanaway.


Pither will drive the no.33 Holden Commodore ZB at this weekend’s BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown. It comes after Stanaway was forced out of the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint last month due to a neck injury flaring up.


The recurring injury stems back to a crash during the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps some seven years ago, which left him with broken vertebrae.


Following the last round of the Supercars Championship scans showed Stanaway had a bulging disk between the sixth and seventh vertebrae. That led to the 27-year-old suffering right side neck pain.


Stanaway and the team were confident that he’d be able to compete at Hidden Valley Raceway this weekend, however, he endured more pain last weekend and so the decision was made not to race.


“Following Richie's medical withdrawal from Race 14 of the Supercars Championship at Winton Raceway, he has been undergoing treatment from Supercars doctor, Dr Carl,” read a team statement.


“Due to the recurrence of neck issues originating from a high-speed accident at Spa in a Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, he has been advised by Dr Carl and a neurosurgeon to undergo further treatment to be fit and race ready for Townsville.


“Since Winton, Richie's health had been improving on a daily basis, yet he suffered a setback a couple of days ago.


“As per Winton, Richie's Enduro Cup partner and GRM TCR Driver, Chris Pither will fill in for Richie and race the #33 Boost Mobile Commodore at Darwin.”


It is not yet known whether Stanaway will contest the Watpac Townsville 400 in early July. However, he will not travel to Darwin to focus on his recovery.


Photo: Daniel Kalisz