Albert Park AGP Thursday report

Kelly and Skaife in the mix at Australian Grand Prix Holden Racing Team partners Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly made the first small statement of the V8 Supercar Championship Series by qualifying first and third for the opening race of three ...

Kelly and Skaife in the mix at Australian Grand Prix

Holden Racing Team partners Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly made the first small statement of the V8 Supercar Championship Series by qualifying first and third for the opening race of three non-championship events at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

They were joined by Ford Performance Racing's Jason Bright in his first drive in a Ford when he qualified second for tomorrow's 10-lap race around the streets of Albert Park.

Team Perkins Racing's Steven Richards and Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five as the series put on its first display of what promises to be an intriguing year in Australia's biggest Motorsport category.

For Skaife and Kelly it was a positive sign following a mixed year in 2004. They have new cars in their armory this year.

"We've spent a lot of time and money on these cars during the off-season," Skaife said.

"As always it is my goal to win the championship, just as it is everyone else's. I'm sure it is going to be a very interesting year for everybody."

Jason Bright's much publicised move from Holden to Ford showed good early signs in the event he won last with PWR Racing.

"There's more in it yet," Bright said. "I'm happy considering we've had one test day and just the one practice session behind us."

For Ambrose it was a reasonable day out.

"We're here to try a few things, no excuses of course. What it's all about is getting ready for the first event in Adelaide and see if we can get a win or two along the way."

Repco Valvoline Cummins' Cameron McConville was a strong performer in qualifying sixth for the first race while his former team-mate Garth Tander was a shade behind him driving for his new team Holden Special Vehicles.

"My personal goal was to qualify in the Top 10 in my first run with the new team and we have achieved that," Tander said.

"We will keep chipping away over the course of the weekend, just keep moving forward and aim for a podium."

The first appearance of the year also prompted questions about the 2005 points system where drivers will be able to drop their last round up until and including Round 10 at the Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst.

It means the last three round of the season will be the unofficial finals series.

"With that semi-final feel about it there will be a finals atmosphere to the year," Skaife said.

"It doesn't matter what we do with the points system there will always be critics. We could go to the Formula One system tomorrow and that wouldn't mean it's any better.

"To me it's a good intermediary things and a wise decision."

Tomorrow's first race is at 3.30pm.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Cameron McConville , Mark Skaife , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team