International rally star Dean Herridge is looking forward to returning to Bathurst to drive a Jim Hunter Motorsport Subaru Sti with Jim Hunter and Barton Mawer in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Race on February 12-14.

Herridge is a West Australian, who’s father Rob is a former Australian Rally Champion, and as a youngster always dreamt of becoming a touring car racer, and like so many others spent one day of the year glued to the television screen watching the Bathurst 1000.

“I used to watch Peter Brock and Allan Moffat and all of those guys, and loved it, but went rallying instead, so when I got the call up to drive for Subaru in the 2007 12 hour I was thrilled."

In the 2007 rebirth of the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour race, Herridge drove a Spec C Sti with fellow Subaru rally stars Chris Atkinson and Cody Crocker, and for a rookie team put in a magnificent performance to finish second outright to the BMW of Garry Holt, Paul Morris and Craig Baird, and only for the bad timing of a safety car towards the end may have won on debut.

“I guess we were unlucky with the safety car, but you have to take the good with the bad – and I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’ve wanted to go back.  

Herridge set the fastest lap of the three drivers over the weekend, and he claims its great to have bragging rights on it when ever at the dinner table.

The vastly experienced Sydney drivers Hunter and Mawer should make a good team with the rally star in the Subaru Sti, and may be a dark horse in this years race. 

“I approached Jim (Hunter) last year and asked if he wanted a driver, but he’d already signed John Bowe and Gavin Bullas, then when John (Bowe) wasn’t available this year  he (Hunter) contacted me, and here we are.

“I understand Jim is restricted in the budget, but I know how privateer teams work. I’m just a very small cog in a big wheel, and all I can do is do the best job I can for the team. Because of my experience with Subaru I may be able to help a bit with the car, particularly as it’s the new model. I wont get to drive the car before the first day of practice at Bathurst, but that’s alright,” he said.

“The only other time I had seen the track before the 2007 race was when I came to the city to do a commercial for Subaru. I couldn’t borrow a car quick enough and go for a drive around it (Mount Panorama).

“I was bought up at a country town near Perth, and Bathurst reminded me so much of it when I first saw the place (Bathurst). But we didn’t have a Mount Panorama at our doorstep,” he said.

“I’d been a gravel rally driver for more than a decade, then and after Subaru pulled out of the sport I was approached by Nick Senior to head up their tarmac rally team, which was a surprise, but a good surprise,” he added. “So I’ve remained a contracted Subaru driver.

“My first tarmac rally was the 2006 Mount Bulla Sprint, and since then I’ve done three Targa Tasmania’s,” and a host of others. Whilst I haven’t had a lot of experience in circuit racing, I’ve now done a fair bit of tarmac rallying, and do a lot of drive days for Subaru at race tracks. As a rally driver we love the crests and things and Bathurst is so much like that. I’ve been to Eastern Creek, and after around 10 laps I was getting bored, but that would never happen at Mount Panorama.

“It's not hard to see why the place is so famous. What a great track, and competing in the ARC round there (Bathurst) in 2005 really wetted the appetite for me to compete there on the entire track."

Herridge has competed in more than 50 international events in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Japan, China and New Caledonia, and in his last rally before the break, finished fourth in the fifth and final round of the Chinese Rally Championship for Subaru.

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