The West

Perth drivers are Australia's worst and need urgent counselling from police to make the State's roads safer, according to prominent WA motorsport identity Michael Patrizi.

Revealing he was about to launch his own motorsport team, which he hoped would produce a line of WA stars to follow Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, Patrizi said Perth's drivers had little understanding of rules governing merging and roundabouts and believed they created more danger by too often inhabiting right-hand lanes.

Patrizi, who finished fifth in last year's Australian Carrera Cup Championship, said a visit home this week from his Gold Coast base had quickly made him realise the potential for chaos on Perth roads.

"Worst in Australia," Patrizi said. "It's the enforcement and the way it's done in Perth has made the drivers who they are.

"No one merges in Perth and there is no enforcement to show them how. Perth people also don't understand that the right-hand lane is for passing.

"Even if you are doing the speed limit, don't stay in the right-hand lane. If someone wants to go faster and get caught, that's their problem.

"Move over in the left-hand lane. It's safer because it's very dangerous to pass on the inside of another car.

"In comparison, driving in Queensland is a dream."

Patrizi, 29, said he was confused as to how some speed limits changed so close to traffic light intersections and believed speed limits on open country roads should be more aligned with European rules, increasing to a maximum 130km/h in dry conditions.

"If you're doing 5km/h over the speed limit in a school zone, you're an idiot. But to me 110km/h on a country road is too slow," he said.

"I drove to Hopetoun the other day. I'm a very capable driver. I do it for my profession. If I find it difficult to stay awake and concentrate on 110km/h on those open, boring roads that we have that go for ever with no town in between, I don't see how other people can.

"When you are doing 110km/h, you can still eat your hamburger, drink your milkshake, change your radio and look at your baby. When you're doing 130km/h, you're alert as a driver and that's coming from experience."

Patrizi said he had been a long-time friend and mentor to Ricciardo and along with his established go-kart team, which had support from an Italian manufacturer, he was now branching into motorsport ownership for the coming season.

His team, with financial support from a Perth-based company, will be called the Onsite Rental Racing Team. "I'm taking a different approach to motorsport from now on because Australia is in a difficult way at the moment in terms of sponsorship economy," the Kalgoorlie-born driver said.

"I've seen too many sponsors treated the wrong way and as a driver you work way too hard to get these people to invest the money that they do. Motorsport is a big game from a sponsorship point of view and you're talking big dollars, so I want to be in control now.

"I've always got big dreams, but I want to have the best team in Australia, if not take it overseas and provide the platform where I can have the next Daniel Ricciardos come through me.

"If I can be the platform where teams overseas look to me to provide the next group of Aussies coming through, that's something I'd like to do."

After winning a round of the championship last year at Winton, Patrizi was optimistic of challenging for this year's title when racing starts next month.

'Perth people don't understand the right-hand lane is for passing.' " *Michael Patrizi *

The West Australian

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