In the first of his Bathurst diaries, Jason Plato looks forward to Australia's 'great race' - the FAI Bathurst 1000. He airs his concern over the weather and describes how to have some clean, healthy fun with a long tube, an orange and some hairspray
I've come halfway around the world to get away from Britain's cold, wet and windy weather and what happens? It buckets down. There was a deluge at Bathurst on Monday which has wrecked the circuit - some gravel traps just simply aren't there anymore and it's a real mess.
We're banking on it being wet for practice tomorrow to get used to the conditions most people are expecting this weekend. It's a shame for everyone but especially for us because neither Yvan [Muller] or myself have driven these cars in the wet. With Bathurst being on the side of Mount Panorama, the water runs off it in rivers and turns into lakes at the bottom.
It's a punishing place - if you make a tiny error you're in the wall. And in one of these things, you're going to hit it hard, probably front and rear. Although we haven't got the time to really play ourselves in, we're going to have to take it gently. So that's going to put us at a bit of a disadvantage, especially in qualifying.
The last thing we want to do before the race is ditch the car, because it's going to put the whole program back. We've got to be cautious, bearing in mind the longer the week goes on, the more chance the weather has of clearing up. Don't forget the race is six-and-a-half hours long.
We've got to go into practice with an open mind and see where we are in terms of pace because, ultimately, the time to be quick is in the race itself. Another worry is the amount of one-race wonders on the entry list. It's going to be so easy to come around on a hot lap and find some idiot broadside across the track because that could end your weekend.
There's not a great deal to do here. We're all staying at the University Campus, rather than a hotel, so we've been making our own entertainment...by building missile launchers! It's the funniest thing ever. You put an orange down the tube, give it a couple of squirts of hairspray, put the back on it and light the blue touch paper.
The range is incredible...you could stand on the inside of Copse at Silverstone and hit the main gate - I'm not joking! When I come back I'm going to introduce England to the art of orange launching, although I'm not sure it would be legal. Now Craig Lowndes is now working on a potato-based version, it's bloody funny!
Back to the serious stuff. I was told earlier in the week that the odds on Yvan and I winning were 85-1, so I'm surprised we've come down to 25-1. I would have thought we'd be in the 40s at least. Still, at 25s - even though it's a tall order - I still fancy a flutter on our chances!
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