Hidden Valley: Saturday race one report

The Red Lion roars again in Darwin The Red Lion roared again in Darwin today when the Holden Racing Team scored a double in the first race of the SkyCity V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley Raceway. Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife started side by...

The Red Lion roars again in Darwin

The Red Lion roared again in Darwin today when the Holden Racing Team scored a double in the first race of the SkyCity V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley Raceway.

Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife started side by side on the grid having qualified fastest and over the 17-lap sprint were not headed. It followed on from Kelly's strong round win in the previous event in China. Kelly also won the Darwin event this time last year.

"There is no doubt that the red cars are back to where they should be," Skaife said.

"But we are not going to make bold statements because no team in this category will ever dominate the way we did in the late 1990s and early 2000s. No team in this competitive environment will win five championships in a row. It will just never happen."

For Kelly it was another dominant performance from the youngster.

"It is great to see the red cars back up the front again," Kelly said. "Now we've sorted the cars out hopefully the will be a lot more of it for the rest of the year."

Championship contender Craig Lowndes finished third after a great drive including a fantastic pass under current champion Marcos Ambrose who made the smallest of errors that was quickly snapped up by his Ford colleague.

"I just had to sit back and see what Marcos wanted to do and whether we were going to attack the top two," Lowndes said.

"We tried to put as much pressure (on Ambrose) as possible. It gave us a chance to have a good look at where his weaknesses were.

"You always put pressure on the guy in front and try to force a mistake. We will go back now and see what we learnt today and see what we can apply to the longer races tomorrow."

Steven Richards' championship hopes turned to disaster when he left the track on lap 14 in the Team Perkins Holden. He finished 22nd for the day with two races tomorrow to make amends.

It was all Red from qualifying. Skaife impressed his young son Mitchell who made the trip to Darwin with dad by nailing the fastest time for the weekend with a sizzling shootout lap that stole pole position from his team-mate Todd Kelly.

Mark Winterbottom made his first career shootout which was a great boost for the young Orccon racer. He qualified in tenth but it was still a solid learning curve for the former champion of the up and coming secondary V8 Supercar series.

Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall made a fatal mistake in qualifying when he failed to stop at the weigh scales during the second session. The subsequent penalty moved him from 10th and a shootout position to the back of the grid.

But a strong drive meant he moved up to 14th and salvaged invaluable points. He will now have his sights firmly set on the front of the pack tomorrow.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team