James Moffat and Nissan Motorsport have made Australian sports history at Winton Raceway today, claiming Nissan’s first race win in Australian Touring Car racing in 21 years.
Norton-backed Nissan Altima driver James Moffat led home team-mate Michael Caruso to take victory in Race 25 of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship.
The win came after a solid qualifying performance that saw Caruso claim second place on the grid behind three-time series champion Jamie Whincup. The qualifying result was a personal best for Caruso. Moffat started the race from third.
Whincup led the opening stages of the 40 lap 60/60 Super Sprint race, only to suffer a mechanical problem early on.
Caruso crossed the line first in the opening half of the race, but at the rolling re-start, Moffat got the jump and led all remaining 20 laps.
Nissan team-mates Rick Kelly and Todd Kelly, driving the Jack Daniel’s-backed Altimas, finished the race in 14th and 24th.
Tomorrow’s final day of on-track action will see two 15 minute qualifying sessions (11.30am and 11,40am), followed by Races 26 and 27 of the championship (1.35pm and 4.15pm).
James Moffat – #360 Norton Hornet Nissan Altima
“I’ve worked hard to get to this point in my career and to breakthrough for my first win means a lot,” said James Moffat.
“What a great day for everyone at Nissan Motorsport, Norton and Toshiba. It’s all a bit of a dream at the moment.
“I really tried to come into this event without many expectations. Naturally, if we were going to go well at any circuit, this was the one. It’s our test track, and I was very happy with the way we ended our test day, but I wasn’t getting carried away, because we know how finicky this track can be.
“I wasn’t prepared to get too far ahead of myself, and even when we were quickest yesterday, I was keeping a lid on it.
“This result speaks for itself. We’re one-two in both races. Sure, Jamie had a bit of bad luck, but both of us proved we had great pace.”
Michael Caruso – #36 Norton Hornet Nissan Altima
“This is brilliant for our whole team. The Norton cars finishing one-two, it’s fantastic,” said Michael Caruso.
“We knew we’d come into this event looking better than we have in the previous rounds. We’re all wise enough to know that this circuit has no advantage for the cars with big horsepower. The Nissans have been handling really well and we’ve shown that throughout the year.
“It’s a credit to everyone at the team, and our engineering guys are working hard and it’s paying off.”
Rick Kelly – #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
“I didn’t get the most out of it in qualifying only by three tenths and it was enough to put us from the front of the grid to absolutely mid pack and from there it was tough for us to move anywhere,” Rick Kelly said.
“We’re still losing one or two car lengths up the chute, so even if we are quick it’s so hard to pass anyone under brakes. We got stuck there and we only have ourselves to blame for not getting the most out of the #15 car in qualifying.
“We’ll fix that tomorrow, there’s still two races to go and hopefully we can share in some of the achievements that the Norton guys have had.”
Rick on Nissan Motorsport’s first race win
“It’s a little bit of a dream come true, we’d love for the JD cars to be up there, but for those guys to achieve that when we still are a bit slow in a straight line is absolutely incredible,” Rick Kelly said.
“We knew coming into this weekend it was about qualifying and those two guys nailed that part of it and were able to do consistent laps in the race and get the reward for doing that.
“A huge congratulations to the whole team, the last 18 months for us have been extremely tough, the guys with their families and everything with the workload has been tough on everyone, so congratulations to everyone in the team and thanks for the effort, because today it paid off.”
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan Altima:
“We’ve been a little bit behind it all day today, we didn’t have the car anywhere near close enough at the end of the practice session and went into qualifying with a few changes, and then into the race with even bigger changes, and then more changes between the first and second half of the race,” Todd Kelly said.
“It’s not a bad day for the team, we’ve got two cars that are extremely good, so we’re in the position now where we will probably just throw one of those set ups in our car and learn how to drive it, because they’re certainly quick.”
Todd on Nissan Motorsport’s first race win
“It doesn’t get much better than that, for a team that’s only eight months old to have had its first win and a one-two at the same time, it doesn’t get much better than that at all,” Todd Kelly said.
“Well done to the boys. We always knew if we were going to have a chance it would be here, so hopefully we can get a few more of us up there tomorrow and try and get a bit of momentum out of this for the rest of the year.”