V8SDS: Howard Racing Clipsal Friday notes

Bad luck thwarts Howard Racing Team at season opener After Howard Racing young gun Andrew Thompson successfully claimed pole position for the opening race of the 2007 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series the reigning champions were hopeful of kicking...

Bad luck thwarts Howard Racing Team at season opener

After Howard Racing young gun Andrew Thompson successfully claimed pole position for the opening race of the 2007 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series the reigning champions were hopeful of kicking off their title defense with a top three finish in tonight's 24-lap race at the Clipsal 500, Adelaide.

Team owner Mark Howard started from 20th on the grid after gearbox problems hindered his earlier qualifying session while team mate Adam Sharpe started from position 17.

Nineteen year old Thompson got a good start from pole position, and settled quickly into second place behind Michael Caruso.

On Lap-4 of the race while in 17th position Mark Howard fell victim to oil left on the track by the debilitating Commodore of Simon Wills as he limped it back to the pits. Extremely lucky not to find himself in need of a tow, Howard managed to re-join the race in 24th and set about regaining his lost spots, finishing just outside the top ten in 12th place.

"I did not see the oil flags at Turn 11 until it was too late," Howard explained.

"We were really lucky to get out of that, there seemed to be cars coming from everywhere."

"Once we were back in 24th I just had to try and put together consistent laps and focus on capitalising on everyone else's mistakes. We are starting from 12th on the grid tomorrow and my aim to get up inside the top ten and stay there," Howard added.

As Howard worked his way through the field Thompson continued to keep the pressure on race leader Michael Caruso until Lap 18 of the race when he glanced a tyre barrier at Turn 11 while setting himself up for a passing move on the race leader.

The incident prematurely ended the young Gold Coasters debut race with the team and left his crew with a late night ahead to repair damage sustained to the uprights, bottom and top steering arms and roll bars.

"I just can't believe my luck" Thompson said. "The car was great and I had been taking it easy for the first 18 laps, setting my self up to make a move on Caruso in the coming laps."

"It was totally driver error I got too close to the wall and the rest is history."

"We will have our work cut out for us starting off 22nd on the grid tomorrow but I have come through to win from worse positions before," Thompson claimed.

With his teammates enduring their fair share of bad luck Adam Sharpe continued to lap consistently picking up places as he gained 13 places to finish fourth.

The 24 year old Brit was ecstatic with his result which was unfortunately short lived as a post race penalty for a passing move on Tim Slade slid him back through the pack to ninth.

"It was a bit disappointing as I had a fantastic race," Sharpe said.

"I climbed 13 positions and had some great duels so overall I am quite positive about tomorrow."

Race two for the Fujitsu V8 Supercars at the Clipsal 500 will get underway at 9.55am tomorrow.

-credit: hr

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Series CAMS
Drivers Andrew Thompson , Simon Wills , Adam Sharpe , Michael Caruso , Mark Howard , Tim Slade