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Kiwi Bathurst wildcard halted for 2021

The brakes have been applied to New Zealand motorsport icon Greg Murphy’s Supercars return.

Murphy and fellow Kiwi Richie Stanaway’s planned wildcard entry for next month’s Bathurst 1000 has been canned after the pair were unable to secure a spot in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine system (MIQ) for their return from Australia.

It would have been Murphy’s 23rd start at Bathurst and his first Supercars appearance in seven years, after retiring in 2014.

The 48-year-old is a four-time winner at Mount Panorama.

Organisers of the Boost Mobile-backed Holden Commodore entry wanted to secure travel arrangements for the duo by Friday to ensure they could participate in seat preparation and testing on track at Sydney Motorsport Park on Tuesday.

With no guarantee on Murphy and Stanaway’s return arrangements secured, the Erebus Motorsport entry has officially withdrawn from the 1000km endurance classic scheduled for December 5.

“I can’t explain how frustrating it has been not being able to put our plan into action,” Murphy said.

“I know it’s not the most important thing in the world and COVID has impacted so many people in far more serious ways, but Richie and I were really looking forward to doing this and the effort that has gone into the prep of the car and behind the scenes has been enormous.

“We have played by the same rules as every other person trying to get a spot in MIQ and most have better reasons than we do for getting a spot and that is the way it is.

“It’s a lottery and our numbers haven’t come up.”

The plan now is to get the entry on the grid at next year’s Bathurst 1000 and Erebus chief executive Barry Ryan said his team would welcome another attempt in 12 months’ time.

“We should all be proud of our efforts to get this so close to happening and I look forward to seeing us pull it off in 2022,” Ryan said.

“I hope for a less COVID-affected season next year and seeing all fans, both from Australia and New Zealand, able to come and support us at Bathurst.”

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