STRONG RUNS ENDS IN DISSAPPOINTMENT FOR MARSHALL

IRWIN Racing's Marcus Marshall has had a strong weekend of racing end against a concrete wall at the Hamilton 400 in New Zealand, the third round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

After 16th place finishes in races #1 and #2, Marshall was set for an even better result in the final race of the weekend. A collision with Todd Kelly on just the fifth lap forced the withdrawal of the IRWIN Racing Ford with front-end damage. Todd Kelly was given pitlane drive-through penalty for the incident.

It was a hard day for Marshall who was also had two hits in the morning race.

"Disappointing is an understatement," said Marshall.

"We battled very hard this weekend and going into the final race I was confident of taking it to them.

"I got a great start and for sure there was plenty going-on, but I tried to keep it clean. To then be turned into a wall a few laps later is gutting. It rounded a pretty tough day after taking a couple of hits in race #2.

"I consider myself a clean racer, but there are guys in this championship right now who are not returning that courtesy on the track.

"We have to get out of the mess in the midfield and get towards the front.

"Importantly we have made a lot of gains with the car. We have improved as a group and a good clean weekend at the next round in Perth will show that progress.

Race Engineer Greg Foletta was kept busy throughout the weekend as the IRWIN Racing team adjusted to the new track. Despite the disappointment of the final race, Foletta believes the team will be better off heading forward.

"This weekend presented a lot of challenges," said Foletta.

"We got through pretty strongly through practice on Friday, but the tricky wet weather in qualifying set us back and we were satisfied to finished 16th in the first two races.

"The accident in race #3 destroyed the mounting brackets for the front bumper. You can't return to the track without a front bumper.

"We set a goal of finishing in the top-half of the field and that's what we deserved. However, racing is a very hard game and race #3 really showed that.

"The team made a lot of progress and I'm sure that we can look forward to a good showing in Perth. That includes the goal of finishing in the top-half of the field."

IRWIN Racing next hits the track in Perth on 9-11 May.

-credit: bammedia.com.au