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Stoner impresses on four wheels
Laine Clark
15:51 AEST Sat Mar 2 2013

The question on everyone's lips was finally answered by two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner in Adelaide on Saturday - he can drive a V8.

No one can doubt Stoner's credentials on two wheels but the jury was out on his ability on four after he lasted just 12 laps before crashing out in his much-anticipated V8 Supercars second-tier race debut on Friday.

However, Stoner silenced the knockers with a stirring effort in Saturday's 23-lap race, starting at the back of the 30-strong pack before weaving his way through the field on the tough street circuit to finish 14th.

It may pale in comparison to his glittering MotoGP resume which boasted 38 wins, 69 podium finishes and of course the 2007 and 2011 world titles.

However, Stoner looked like a winner after bouncing back from Friday's DNF due to a blown tyre.

Asked if he now felt like a V8 driver, a beaming Stoner said: "I suppose so - I felt like part of the class out there.

"I made things difficult for myself by starting back in the field (due to Friday's crash).

"But our pace was pretty good."

Stoner reckoned he had "no clue" whether he wanted to launch a long-term V8 career but admitted he couldn't wait for his next Dunlop Series event in Perth in May.

"I wish I had another race tomorrow but unfortunately that is the weekend for me," he said.

"We've now got more of an idea. Things that I was nervous and uncomfortable about I was more okay with it than I thought.

"I still need more experience. It will take me a lot of time to understand after 24 years of knowing about bikes - it's a complete switch around but I have to go with it.

"But honestly I just want to got out there and have fun and race some guys."

Stoner, 27, was the biggest thing to hit the second-tier touring car category in its 13-year history when he ended "will he, won't he" social media speculation by signing on for Triple Eight's Red Bull Racing team.

But he has created an extra buzz after his impressive efforts in Adelaide.

Stoner was fast out of the box, clocking top 10 times in practice and qualifying 12th fastest for Friday's opening race before crashing out in 14th spot.

Stoner turned heads again on Saturday - not that Triple Eight team boss Roland Dane was surprised.

Dane did not rule out Stoner winning a Dunlop Series race this series after the former motorcycle champ looked at home on four wheels.

"He has that outstanding talent," Dane said.

"You can see it in his feel for the car. He absorbed all the advice he has been given by others, and he used it.

"This is a very difficult place to be thrown into the deep end ... if it all falls into place, Casey will be top six all day long."


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