Hidden Valley: Friday report

China momentum keeps Kelly at the top Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has carried his round winning form from China to Darwin, heading the time sheets on the opening day of practice for the SkyCity Supercars at Hidden Valley in Darwin ...

China momentum keeps Kelly at the top

Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has carried his round winning form from China to Darwin, heading the time sheets on the opening day of practice for the SkyCity Supercars at Hidden Valley in Darwin today.

Kelly set his best time towards the end of the session, just before a trail of oil was left on the track. He held out fellow Holden rivals Paul Morris and Steve Richards for a Holden trifecta.

Kelly, the winner of this round last year, said the win in China was a great fillip for the team, and that he hoped they could now throw down a serious challenge to Series leader Marcos Ambrose who was down in 15th today.

"If we can get a little bit of momentum out of the China win, and I think we can, then we should be all right," he said.

"Mark and I are fourth and fifth in the Championship, and we want to move up from there. I didn't put green tyres on, there was a lot of oil on the track at the end I thought it was better not to risk the tyres.

"I thought a few more would have used them by then too, so we didn't really need to anyway."

Paul Morris was a surprise second, and he quickly confessed to running a totally green set of tyres.

"We had some pretty old tyre on for most of the session, and we fired some green tyres on at the end there," he said. "We had a bit of understeer on those tyres, but it was all good.

"I probably went off about 10 times during that session, but not on the green tyres."

The leading Holden driver in the Series, Steve Richards, was third quickest and he said the session was now a pretty good form guide for the weekend.

"It was a good session for us, we just progressed slowly and we tried a few things out," Richards said.

"We didn't put totally new tyres on, but you never come to a race meeting now without a pretty good set of tyres, and the Friday sessions is now a pretty good form guide because of that."

Craig Lowndes was the fastest of the Fords, and he said he was hoping for a better weekend than he endured in China at the previous round.

"We struggled early on and we had to chase the car a little bit while the circuit grip was down," he said. "We've got some things we want to try for qualifying, we think we know what we will suit the green tyres and we'll give it a shot.

"We just have to try and score some points after the disaster with the clutch in China. We have to get some consistency -- we've had three pole positions, one round win and few DNFS, so we need to get more out of it."

Simon Wills was a surprise fifth fastest today, bumping out many of his more fancied rivals with a good run in the latter half of the two hour session.

"The session started out pretty rough, we had a drive shaft problem which we had to change, but then it was pretty good," Wills said.

"We run on a small budget and we haven't tested yet this season, so this a dream result for us with where we are at."

Series contenders Russell Ingall, Mark Skaife and Ambrose were all outside the top 5, while Greg Murphy was way down in 31st and struggling in his SuperCheap Commodore.

Murphy went off the track near the end of the session and brushed a wall, while Greg Ritter earlier damaged his Ford Credit Falcon with a bigger hit.

Qualifying starts tomorrow morning at 11:30am local time, while the day ends with a 17 lap race at 3pm.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Paul Morris , Todd Kelly , Simon Wills , Greg Ritter , Steve Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team