Women ready to silence Supercars critics

Be careful what you wish for, Simona de Silvestro.

The Swiss motorsport star had said she wanted to prove herself against her male rivals at this weekend’s Bathurst 1000.

Now the former IndyCar driver will get her chance at Mount Panorama – just not the way she would have liked.

Her all-female team also featuring Renee Gracie face a daunting task after de Silvestro speared off the track at qualifying on Friday, relegating them to the back of the grid for Sunday’s Great Race.

There is no more daunting task than fighting through the Bathurst field as a backmarker.

Especially in just your second Bathurst 1000.

On the flipside, the stage is now set for former Formula One test driver de Silvestro to finally end any remaining criticism of the women drivers.

“Maybe I wanted it a little bit too much,” de Silvestro said of her qualifying gaffe, spearing off at The Chase and into a sandtrap to prompt a red flag.

“I was up on my lap time and I was getting more confident in the car and I think it’s the only mistake I have made this weekend so it happens.

“It just shows that we are pushing and we’re trying to be as fast as we can out there.

“I guess the good thing is that you always learn from your mistakes.”

De Silvestro returned to the mountain after teaming up with Gracie last year as a wildcard entry and the first all-female team to tackle Bathurst in almost 20 years.

It didn’t go well.

First their entry was overshadowed by then Ford driver David Reynolds’ now infamous “Pussy Wagon” description of their team.

They didn’t fare much better in the 2015 Great Race, placing last albeit after six other cars failed to finish.

But the future appears bright for de Silvestro.

Next year she becomes a full-time Supercars driver, starting a three-year deal.

She will be the first female full-time touring car driver since Christine Gibson in 1975.

And Supercars boss James Warburton wants three women driving full-time by 2025.

But de Silvestro is not getting ahead of herself.

“The race is really long on Sunday. It’s what we have to focus on and it’s what we have our minds on.”

The top 10 shootout to decide the front of the grid will be held on Saturday before Sunday’s 56th Bathurst 1000.

Holden’s four-time Bathurst winner Jamie Whincup claimed provisional pole on Friday.

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