Hidden Valley: Sunday race two, three report

Dramatic day in Darwin splits open V8 Supercar Championship Series A dramatic day in Darwin has split the V8 Supercar Championship Series wide open after a lamentable day for the normally invincible Stone Brothers Racing Team. The SkyCity V8...

Dramatic day in Darwin splits open V8 Supercar Championship Series

A dramatic day in Darwin has split the V8 Supercar Championship Series wide open after a lamentable day for the normally invincible Stone Brothers Racing Team.

The SkyCity V8 Supercars event could well now prove a pivotal round of the Championship. It was a forgettable event but not completely disastrous for the SBR pair of Marcos Ambrose (9th) and Russell Ingall (17th).

But Ambrose has a get out of jail free card that means he is able to drop his worst round up until the Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst, Darwin being it so far this year. Ambrose still leads the Championship but ground has been made by his rivals.

Not so for the Holden Racing Team and the Holden Special Vehicles team. They provided the top three for the event in Todd Kelly, Garth Tander and Rick Kelly.

Todd Kelly scored his second successive victory after claiming the first V8 Supercar Championship Series win outside of Australasia in China just a few weeks.

It puts Kelly firmly in championship contention and indirectly meant Castrol Perkins Racing's Steven Richards assumed second place after Ingall failed to compete in the last race with electrical problems. Ambrose, however, still extended his lead.

"If we keep it together for the rest of the year we will be right up there," Todd Kelly said.

"It's the kind of momentum I was talking about in China that is now driving us. We are right up there now instead of playing catch-up. Now that the team at the top of the field has had a bad weekend it really gives us great confidence."

Kelly's form resurgence has fuelled speculation about his future, including being linked to the soon to be vacant seat at SBR when Ambrose chases a NASCAR dream in the United States next year. But the sweet smell of victory might see him stay put.

"All I want to do is be with the most competitive team and the way the last few rounds have been that team is HRT," he said.

"One of the hardest things to ever do would be to swap manufacturers. That would be a very difficult decision to make if it came down to that."

There is no such move afoot it seems for little brother Rick or Tander. The HSV team-mates are now proving their worth. Today's result for the younger Kelly was particularly pleasing after his headlining Buick Team failed at the Shanghai event.

"I was just about in tears on the cool down lap," said Kelly. "The weekend has been more about gathering information but to finish on the podium is unbelievable."

Likewise Tander, who won the third race today, was over the moon about his first race victory since 2000.

"It's testament to the guys for persisting with it. We are hoping it is a turning point in the Championship but we are not beating our chests just year. Now we are in the top 10 we will start looking to the top five and then hopefully the top three. That would be special."

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team