Abu Dhabi: Jack Daniel's Racing race 1 report

TODD KELLY STARTS 2011 WITH TOP 10 FINISH IN ABU DHABI

Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly had made a solid start to the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship with a 10th place finish in the first race of the Yas V8 400 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates today.

Kelly posted a top 10 finish in the 43-lap race aboard his #7 Commodore, which is carrying Queensland signage this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit to raise awareness for the plight of flood and cyclone victims back in Australia.

Todd Kelly started from 17th position on the grid but made steady progress up the order all race long, reaching a top 10 position with 14 laps remaining.

Kelly admitted that his third and final stint of the race was his best, able to pull away from Jack Daniel's Racing team-mate and younger brother Rick Kelly in the final stages.

Rick Kelly had to do things the hard way aboard the team's #15 Commodore, qualifying in 25th position earlier today, his lowest qualifying result since Race 1 at Queensland Raceway in 2009.

But after intense analysis with Race Engineer David Swenson, Rick Kelly had an improved car set-up in this evening's race and was able to post a 13th place finish.

Kelly had been as high as 11th place, right behind Todd Kelly, but tyre wear in the final stages allowed Steven Johnson and Will Davison to pass.

Jamie Whincup won the first race of the Yas V8 400 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this evening ahead of Alex Davison and Mark Winterbottom.

The second and final race of the Yas V8 400 will be conducted tomorrow, when a further 20-minute qualifying session and 43-lap race is held.

JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:

TODD KELLY - #7 Holden Commodore

"What we are doing with the car set-up is quite different," said Todd Kelly.

"It wasn't really until the last stint that I actually worked it out and started driving the thing properly, then it started to hang onto its tyres quite well and the pace wasn't bad.

"The first two stints I was half driving it right, half driving it wrong and I just canned the tyres a bit.

"We are running 10th in the championship now so hopefully we can come out of the weekend with a real solid start and keep chipping away with all the stuff we are developing for our cars."

RICK KELLY - #15 Holden Commodore

"Sweno (Car #15 Race Engineer David Swenson) and I were here until late last night and back early this morning trying to get the car back in the set-up window," said Rick Kelly.

"It's always difficult when you start your weekend so low. It's very difficult to recover and qualifying showed that.

"We were 25th, which is the worst I've qualified in some time, and Sweno and I ended up getting a really good set-up for the race after all that work.

"The hard work paid off and we were able to pass a lot of cars. But it was a race hindered by so many tiny little things.

"I lost four or five spots on the first lap when there was a shunt in front of me. Both of my pit stops were quite slow, which meant I had to push hard afterwards to try and gain position, which cooked the tyres.

"With all that stuff going on if we had a better race we would have been in good shape.

"So I'm quite excited about tomorrow but I'm frustrated about all those 'niggly' things that we had today.

"Tomorrow we will go in the same direction, make the car faster, qualify better and we now have a good race car."

-source: kelly racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Will Davison , Rick Kelly , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom