Gold Coast newsletter 2010-06-21

VILLENEUVE, KELLY, PRIAULX, PRUETT IMPRESS IN BUSY WEEKEND FOR GC ENTRANTS - 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve robbed of potential-second place by mechanical issues in final two laps of NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Road ...

VILLENEUVE, KELLY, PRIAULX, PRUETT IMPRESS IN BUSY WEEKEND FOR GC ENTRANTS

- 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve robbed of potential-second place by mechanical issues in final two laps of NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Road America. - Australian Owen Kelly -- who will race with Kelly Racing on the Gold Coast -- makes NASCAR Nationwide Series debut and impresses with top five finish at Road America - Andy Priaulx takes race two win in WTCC in Belgium while Monteiro, Menu and Muller all enjoy top five positions -- Muller continues championship lead - Scott Pruett makes it five wins from seven Rolex Sports Car Series races with Memo Rojas at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course while extending championship lead

A busy weekend of motorsport has seen 13 of the Armor All Gold Coast 600's international stars on track all across the world at the weekend, plus one home-grown co-driver making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut, with many impressive results for the group.

1997 Formula One World Champion and 1995 Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve hit the track at the weekend as part of the NASCAR Nationwide series, and until the late stages looked like he might take the win in his first of two scheduled NASCAR races for 2010.

With 12 laps to go, the Canadian made a charge to the lead, moving from eighth to first from a restart within half a lap, before another restart with nine laps remaining saw him lose the lead to Carl Edwards.

Villeneuve -- who will race with Bottle-O Racing and Paul Dumbrell on the Gold Coast - held onto second place until two laps to go through yet another restart, however mechanical gremlins saw him start to drift back in the field to end up 25th and robbed of a potential runner-up finish.

Also impressing at Road America at the weekend was Australian Owen Kelly, who will also compete in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in October as one of Jack Daniel's Racing 'local' co-drivers -- finishing a remarkable fifth on debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Fellow Gold Coast entrant Patrick Long (for Fujitsu Racing) also took to the track for the Road America event, finishing 14th.

In the World Touring Car Championship, Andy Priaulx snared a home track win for his team at Circuit Zolder in Belgium with victory in race two, with fellow Gold Coast entrants Tiago Monteiro, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Earlier in the weekend, Muller was the best placed of the quartet in race one with a runner-up finish, ahead of Menu (3rd), Monteiro (4th) and Priaulx (7th). Muller, who will compete for Paul Morris Motorsport in October, continues to lead the championship chase, while Priaulx (TeamVodafone) is third, Monteiro (Centaur Racing) is fifth and Menu (Brad Jones Racing) is seventh.

At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas made it five wins from seven races in the Rolex Sports Car Series, with the Lucas Dumbrell Racing driver crossing the line first after Rojas started the pair off from pole position -- the result sees them further extend their championship lead.

In the IndyCar Series, Will Power (Ford Performance Racing) struck early with his first pole position on a oval course at the Iowa Corn Indy 250, before going on to finish fifth in the race which was won by Tony Kanaan.

Power's fellow Aussie Ryan Briscoe (Toll Holden Racing Team) was fourth, Scott Dixon (Jack Daniel's Racing) sixth, Alex Tagliani (Kelly Racing) was 12th and Dario Franchitti (Jim Beam Racing) was 18th, with Power, Dixon and Franchitti all leading segments of the race.

Franchitti's result in particular was not representative of his race form, with the Scotsman taking the lead a total of seven times for 64 laps before a gearbox issue saw him slow in the closing stages to finish down the field. Despite this, the 2010 Indy 500 winner maintains third on the championship ladder behind the leading Power and Dixon. Briscoe is currently fifth while Tagliani sits 13th on the ladder.

In Superleague Formula, Sebestien Bourdais -- set to race with Dick Johnson Racing on the Gold Coast - saw set up issues cause him to be unable to repeat the qualifying success which saw him take pole position for Peugeot at last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours.

Bourdais started from the third row on the grid, going on to finish seventh in race one before he was unable to finish race two after being controversially collected by Tristan Gommendy just laps into race two.

While the international entrants for the Gold Coast have been busy, there was plenty of racing from the V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend as well with the Skycity Triple Crown taking place in Darwin at the weekend.

2009 Gold Coast race winner Mark Winterbottom took Saturday's win from pole position ahead of a resurgent Jamie Whincup and a solid Shane van Gisbergen, before Whincup and Winterbottom switched positions in a strategy-filled race two, with van Gisbergen again taking the third step of the podium.

All of the international drivers for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 are set to arrive on the Gold Coast on the Sunday before the event and will be involved in a week of activity, including a full-day test at Queensland Raceway on Wednesday, October 20.

The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will include two 300km races on Saturday and Sunday of the event, with the international drivers required to complete a minimum of 30% of each of the races.

-source: gold coast

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Series Supercars
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Andy Priaulx , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Scott Pruett , Tiago Monteiro , Memo Rojas , Yvan Muller , Ryan Briscoe , Carl Edwards , Brad Jones , Paul Morris , Jamie Whincup , Tristan Gommendy , Mark Winterbottom , Paul Dumbrell , Owen Kelly , Will Power , Dick Johnson , Shane van Gisbergen , Alain Menu , Jim Beam
Teams Brad Jones Racing , Holden Racing Team