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Fast Forecaster Set For Clipsal Start

Grant Denyer has fingers crossed for a fine, fast and fear-free weekend of racing at the 2006 Clipsal 500 in Adelaide (March 23-26).

Denyer, whose Dick Johnson Racing-prepared Falcon is sponsored by JAX Tyres Tyres, has painful memories of last year's season opener in Adelaide that he hopes will not be repeated this year.

"I was totally under-prepared for the event last year," says the Seven Network weatherman, who is in his second season in the V8 'development' series with DJR.

"I had been caught up in a cyclone we were covering - literally - so the first time I actually drove the car was in practice in Adelaide, and it is definitely not the easiest race circuit in Australia to make your debut.

"The short version of the story is that I was a bit too lead-footed through the chicane and ended up going into a wall at 150kmh. I was pretty lucky - a couple of minor injuries, including a broken bone in my hand.

"It took me about eight weeks to recover - but a bit longer for the badly bruised ego!"

Denyer says he's much more comfortable in the car going into this year's event, and has the confidence of a full season under his belt.

"I expect to be quite quick straight out of the box - fingers crossed!

"I actually really like the track and the atmosphere and I've always been quick there in the past, in my V8 BRute days, so I'm reasonably confident of a decent result. But only time will tell on that score."

Denyer is competing in the 2006 Fujitsu-sponsored V8 Supercar series, with the Adelaide event one of seven rounds in the 'junior' championship.

He will have two practice sessions on Thursday (March 23), before qualifying on Friday. There are two 24-lap races, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday, as a "support act" to the main V8 series.

The Adelaide races are conducted on a tight and demanding 3.22km circuit around the centre of the SA capital. It is a slightly shorter version of the old F1 GP 'track' and is internationally recognised as one of the best street circuits in the world.

March 2006