James Moffat pushes Nissan towards the front of the field in New Zealand

Moffat, driving the #360 Norton Nissan Altima, finished the two races in 15th and eighth place – the best of the Nissan quartet.

James Moffat was the shining light for Nissan Motorsport in New Zealand for the ITM 500 Auckland today.

Moffat, driving the #360 Norton Nissan Altima, finished the two races in 15th and eighth place – the best of the Nissan quartet.

Moffat’s Norton-backed team-mate Michael Caruso had dramas at the start of the day when the team decided to change his engine. With limited track time in practice, he qualified towards the back of the field, but raced well to finish 20th and 13th.

Jack Daniel’s driver Todd Kelly was a front runner for the Nissan squad in qualifying, claiming a pair of ninth place efforts in the dual 10 minute sessions, however both races were soured by drive line issues during the race starts.

Bouncing back from the dramas, Todd claimed results of 13th and 19th in the respective encounters.

The team is working tonight to resolve the issues Todd faced at the start of both races.

Rick Kelly was the unluckiest of the Nissan drivers after a red flag waved in the second qualifying when he was crossing the finish line, negating his flying lap time. According to the team’s data, he was on course for a top five starting slot.

Regardless, Rick pushed on to claim race results of 17th and 15th.

The final day of racing will see qualifying at 1pm, followed by a 200km race at 3.25pm (NZ time).

James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
Practice: 20th
Race 10 Qualifying: 13th
Race 10 Result: 10th
Practice 2: 8th
Race 11 Qualifying: 20th
Race 11 Result: 15th
Race 12 Qualifying: 10th
Race 12 Result: 8th
Championship position:

“All in all, it wasn’t a bad day for us,” said James Moffat.

“We had a quick car in practice and we made a couple of very small changes for the first qualifying, thinking that we could go even faster, but it didn’t work and it shows you how close V8 Supercars is.

“That put us down in 20th, so we reverted to our practice set-up for the second qualifying session and managed 10th.

“In the first race, it was all about minimizing the damage because I was starting down the back. I moved up to 15th which was a reasonable result.

“The second race was good. Eighth is about the maximum our car has at the moment. I didn’t make any mistakes and it was flat out for 35 laps.

“To end up eighth is good points for the championship, and it’s important that we have a good result tomorrow.”

Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
Practice: 15th
Race 10 Qualifying: 17th
Race 10 Result: 17th
Practice 2: 17th
Race 11 Qualifying: 18th
Race 11 Result: 20th
Race 12 Qualifying: 16th
Race 12 Result: 13th
Championship position:

“The boys weren’t happy with the performance of the engine yesterday so they changed it this morning,” said Michael Caruso.

“Unfortunately, we found another problem, so we fixed it, but we lost a lot of time and didn’t get the laps we needed in morning practice.

“That hurt us for qualifying and that affected the races, but to finish 13th in the second race is OK. It’s obviously not where we want to be, but we proved to have good pace and stay with the pack.”

Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima
Practice: 4th
Qualifying Race 10: 25th
Race 10 Result: 20th
Practice 2: 17th
Race 11 Qualifying: 19th
Race 11 Result: 17th
Race 12 Qualifying: 15th
Race 12 Result: 15th
Championship position: 17th

“We had the pace in qualifying to be about third, and we didn’t manage that with the red flag, which was unfortunate,” said Rick Kelly.

“It seems to be the way our luck is going lately, we’ve had good opportunities with a great car, and we haven’t been able to capitalise on it.”

“That’s our aim for tomorrow, qualify up the front and finish there, I know that’s everyone’s aim, but I believe we have the car to do that.

“We’ve got the qualifying car to do it if everything goes smoothly for us, and we really improved the car in the second race today as well.

“In the second race we were stuck behind Russell (Ingall), but we had the race pace to be able to run nearer the front.

“It’s up to us to put the car in that right position in qualifying, and really enjoy the longer race tomorrow, twice the distance, a couple of pit stops, and a lot more can happen.

“Not the greatest result, but really positive signs.”

Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima
Practice: 22nd
Qualifying Race 10- 15th
Race 10- 16th
Practice 2: 19th
Race 11 Qualifying: 9th
Race 11 Result: 13th
Race 12 Qualifying: 9th
Race 12 Result: 19th
Championship position: 24th

“Two top-ten qualifying runs, and two really bad starts,” said Todd Kelly.

“In the first race, the clutch just locked up on the start and stalled the engine when the red lights were on, so when the lights went out, my engine wasn’t running.

“So we changed the clutch and only just got back out there for the second race, again starting inside the top-ten, and it did the same thing again.

“The engine stalled, and I had a lot more trouble getting it going, we dropped down the field and that’s where we stayed.

“We need to get on top of that, because there were two decent results that we lost off the line, we’ll sort that out and tune the car up and move up tomorrow.”

Nissan Motorsport

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About this article
Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Race report
Tags james moffat, michael caruso, new zealand, pukekohe, rick kelly, todd kelly