John Bowe's assault on the opening round of the Shell Championship Series was ruined in race two today after the Cat Racing Falcon was twice forced off the road in separate incidents.

Bowe again started in position twelve and made steady progress in the opening laps with the Tasmanian star conserving his tyres.

However, on lap 3, the #600 Falcon was struck in the rear by Paul Morris at MG corner. Bowe bounced off Russell Ingall's car with both machines finishing off the track.

Bowe began a charging fightback but was forced off the circuit again when challenging around the outside of Ingall.

"It certainly was a very disappointing day because we had refined the car from yesterday to look after its tyres much better," Bowe said.

"You still had to be extremely careful, because it was not a matter of Œi¹' your tyres were going to go off, but Œwh'."

Bowe was fortunate to remain in the race after the second incident when the front of the car finished in the sand trap. He eventually finished in 19th place.

:I thought I had given Russell plenty of room but I got a big hit in the left hand side," Bowe said.

"I was planning to run side by side with him around the corner but he obviously had other ideas."

"Maybe he thought I was responsible for the first hit, but after Morris hit me, I was a bit of a passenger."

The race was won by Ford driver Craig Baird with Garth Tander taking the overall round victory.

While disappointed with the opening result, Bowe remains confident of mounting a strong challenge in the V8 Supercar Championship.

"It is disappointing to be punted off the road when you are minding your own business, trying to be careful, but we still showed some good speed this weekend," Bowe said.

"I'm looking forward to the Grand Prix because I think our car will be well suited to that track."

RACE TWO - 45 MINUTES 1. - Baird (Ford) - 45:43.697 2. - Tander (Holden) - 45:48.021 3. - Skaife (Holden) - 45:52.831 4. - Seton (Ford) - 45:52.940 5. - Perkins (Holden) - 46:03.234 6. - Radisich (Ford) - 46:06.227 7. - Larkham (Ford) - 46:06.476 8. - Longhurst (Ford) - 46:07.373 9. - Kelly (Holden) - 46:09.258 10. - Richards (Holden) - 46:11.380 19. - BOWE (CAT FORD) - 46:38.584

CALENDAR MARCH 9-12 - Grand Prix MARCH 17-19 - Barbagallo (WA) APRIL 7-9 - Adelaide (SA)

Paul Ryan paulryan@camtech.net.au