D'ALBERTO FIGHTS BACK TO KEEP SERIES ALIVE

Tony D'Alberto's Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series aspirations received a major blow in race 1 of the grand final at Phillip Island today after he was fired into the wall mid-race, only to fight his way back to ninth place salvaging important points going into tomorrow's final race.

Tony went into the round with a 44 point lead over second place Michael Caruso.

Qualifying third earlier today, one place ahead of Caruso, put the pair on the second row of the grid.

A slow start saw Tony pushed back to sixth place in the first lap before the race settled down and he was able to work his way back up to fifth and then challenge for fourth place.

It was on lap 13 of the 19 lap race that disaster struck for Tony after passing Dale Wood.

Wood and Jonathan Webb had been tussling for position and left an opening for Tony to pick up a place. After passing Wood, Tony was hit on the outside of his car on the exit to the corner, which sent his car straight into the tyre wall and spinning around before backing into the wall and stopping in the sand trap.

"I don't really know what happened," Tony said.

"I was clearly past, he (Wood) should have given room rather than hit me."

To his credit Tony wasted no time in getting the car back on the track, albeit with damage to both front and back and smoke coming off a rubbing tyre.

Back in 11th place Tony pushed on to eventually finish 9th, keeping his series aspirations alive.

Michael Caruso went on to win the race which closed the gap to 21 points.

Tony will need to finish 7th or better tomorrow (if Caruso wins) to secure the title.

"It is going to be close tomorrow," Tony said.

"As we saw today almost anything is possible so we will just have to wait and see."

The final race of the series is at 2pm tomorrow (Sunday).

-credit: tonyd.com.au