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Californian speedster Ashley Sanford will re-join her Rapisarda Autosport International team mates Wayne Newby and Damien Harris for the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder meeting at Sydney Dragway on May 4-5.

“I can’t wait to return to Australia,” said Sanford. “Our last race where we finished fifth wasn’t the best. I’m confident that our Rapisarda Autosport International team and crew are going to get it done this time in Sydney. Santo Junior and Santino Rapisarda have been working hard in the shop and I’ve been doing what I can in the States. We are ready for redemption and hopefully will be able to hand the winner’s trophy to our team owner Santo Rapisarda.”

Each driver in the RAI stable will bring their own individual narrative to the penultimate round of the 400 Thunder season.

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For Sanford, making her fifth appearance this year, it means scoring her first win for RAI. Her best result has been runner-up to Kelly Bettes in round two.

For Harris the meeting is critical to extend his point lead over Bettes. Harris is in front by two points and will be chasing his first win since the opening round of the season in November.

“Two points means little at this stage of the season,” said Harris. “We started the year with a victory and are well overdue to return to the winner’s circle and extend our points lead going into the final round at the Winternationals.

Reigning 400T champ Wayne Newby will be focused on scoring his first win of the season.

“We have struggled at times, no question about that,” said Newby. “Sydney is the home track for our team owner Santo Rapisarda and all three of his cars will be after the win. There are no team orders and at the end of the day a Rapisarda win is what we all want for our team.”