Aus­tralia’s fastest P-plater ready to go

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - NICK WALSHAW

ANY other day, Alex Rullo would have to dis­play P-plates on Mount Panorama. But not this one. To­day the 17-year-old Perth teenager – who dou­bles as the youngest driver in Su­per­cars his­tory – is set to con­test his first Bathurst 1000.

Nor­mally re­stricted to driv­ing 100km/h, Aus­tralia’s fastest P-plater will in­stead be push­ing his V8 Com­modore al­most three times that speed around the famed Mount Panorama road cir­cuit.

“Which all still feels a lit­tle bit sur­real,’’ Rullo said. “I only got my first go-kart aged 10.

“So I guess things are hap­pen­ing fairly quickly for me.”

Now driv­ing for Lu­cas Dum­brell Mo­tor­sport, it was only two years ago Rullo was sweep­ing the same garage floor on Bathurst week­end.

“I came up here for work ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said. “And that ex­pe­ri­ence, it was great. I jelled with every­one straight­away and ended up driv­ing for them last year in the Dun­lop Se­ries.”

And now this year, Su­per­cars. While still on his P-plates.

Which must have his ri­vals tak­ing pot shots.

“Oh, for sure,’’ Rullo said. “Although things are ac­tu­ally a lot bet­ter now. For the first half of this year, I was rac­ing while still on my Learn­ers. ‘‘That was awk­ward.” Rullo has just fin­ished Year 12 at Trin­ity Gram­mar in Perth, mean­ing his mates are now gear­ing up for Schoolies while he pre­pares for The Great Race.

“My mates, they do think this it’s all pretty cool,’’ he said.

“Although they also give me plenty of stick when­ever I put the car into a wall.”

Born in 2000, Rullo was not even alive when Craig Lown­des scored his three Su­per­cars cham­pi­onships and was only two when Jamie Whin­cup joined the se­ries.

Yet af­ter tak­ing up kart­ing aged 10, the West Aus­tralian was in the na­tional cham­pi­onship by 12 and win­ning his first V8 Tour­ing car event by 14.

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