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GT World Challenge Australia

Volante Rosso Aiming for Mid-Season Return

Health issue rules Chris Batzios out of Phillip Island opener; team targeting return for The Bend in early June…

Photo: GT World Challenge Australia

Mercedes-AMG squad Volante Rosso Motorsport is aiming to return to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS grid later in the season after being forced to miss this weekend’s opening round at Phillip Island.

The Sydney-based team, which placed third overall in last year’s standings with a single victory for Ross Poulakis and Jayden Ojeda, had planned to be on the grid this weekend with a solo Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

However, those plans were scuppered when Bronze-rated driver Chris Batzios was diagnosed with a medical condition during a routine Motorsport Australia check-up.

Now Volante Rosso is aiming for a potential return for the second round of the season at The Bend Motorsport Park on May 31-June 2.

“Of course our first thoughts go to Chris and we wish him a speedy recovery,” said team principal Chris Papadopoulos.

“It’s disappointing for the team because we have a great package for Phillip Island and were outright race winners and pole there last year.

“We haven’t missed a round since we joined the championship in 2022 so I’m sure it’ll be tough watching the others leave pit lane without us.

“We’ll still be at Phillip Island with our squad defending last years’ Radical Cup Championships, and we’ve got some incredibly exciting things coming in GT for the rest of the season, plus Chris Batzios’ return as soon as he’s able to get on track again.”

Batzios himself said that he hopes to be back out testing as as soon as possible, adding: “I’m already on the mend and cannot wait to get back out on track.

“I am forever grateful that the sport we love has the mechanisms and processes in place with our annual detailed medical assessments to pick things up early. Had I not done these assessments who knows what the outcome could have been.”

A total of 17 cars are poised to compete at Phillip Island this weekend, with the entry list for the event having been revealed earlier this week.

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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