Norton Nissan driver Michael Caruso has taken a solid 10th place in today’s first race at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria.
The #36 Norton Nissan Altima driver qualified in 18th but used good race pace to weave his way through the carnage to eventually take a top 10 result – his fourth for the year with Nissan Motorsport.
The Jack Daniel’s Racing pair of Todd Kelly and Rick Kelly avoided multiple mid-pack incidents, with Todd eventually finishing 16th and Rick 20th.
In fact, both drivers finished exactly where they qualified for Race 32 ...
The first tyre blowout saw Moffat escape a 200kmh spin, stating that he was lucky to bring the Altima back to the team in one piece.
Racing concludes tomorrow with two qualifying sessions and two 100km races.
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 32 qualifying: 18th
Race 32 result: 10th
“Qualifying didn’t go as planned. We had a good car, but I sprayed it at Turn 2 and lost time. I think we had a car good enough to be right near the top 10,” said Caruso.
“One thing for sure in that race, there was carnage, and we benefited from some of that.
“Tomorrow will be a different story. We have two qualifying sessions and two races. They’re longer races, and we have a car that can qualify well. We just need to put it all together.”
Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima:
Race 32 qualifying: 16th
Race 32 result: 16th
"It was good to actually finish a race because it has been a while and it was nearly all over in the first half of the race, I just missed out on getting clobbered by one of the GRM cars and I was pretty happy to be a car length back when that happened," Todd Kelly said.
"It just missed the front of my car, so it was a bit of an eye opener and I hope James [Courtney] is alright, because it looked like it hit pretty hard.
"After that I was happy to be in one piece and where we ended up is not too far off where our car pace was. It was a battle out there handling wise, especially in the later part of the race, so we have a bit of work to do to try and make it a bit nicer for tomorrow, but it's good to get through the first day."
Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima
Race 23 qualifying: 20th
Race 32 result: 20th
"We're struggling up the straight, so every time someone is within a couple of car lengths they just suck us in and pass us, so when the field bunched up we got shuffled back a bit," Rick Kelly said.
"We did make a few changes in between the two 60km races and it hurt us a bit, so that put back a bit, but gives us good direction for tomorrow.
"All in all I'm happy to get out of that one unscathed, there was some pretty colourful driving going on out there, which is good to see, but we survived and live to fight again tomorrow."
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 32 qualifying: 27th
Race 32 result: DNF
“We’ve struggled all weekend. We’ve been nowhere, and the DNF caps it off,” said Moffat.
“Fundamentally, we have no car speed and we haven’t been able to improve it since we rolled it out of the truck.
“I had a 200kmh plus spin when the tyre let go in the first race. That certainly got my attention and we’re lucky to still have a race car in one piece. We pitted to replace that and popped another one, so clearly something was going on there.”