Oran Park: Bright holds the edge

Bright confident of V8 Supercar Series victory V8 Supercar Championship Series leader Jason Bright is assured he is far better prepared to fend away a bevy of challengers in the run home to the title than he was this time last year. At this...

Bright confident of V8 Supercar Series victory

V8 Supercar Championship Series leader Jason Bright is assured he is far better prepared to fend away a bevy of challengers in the run home to the title than he was this time last year.

At this point of the season in 2003, Bright was also flying at the top of the championship. That was before all came crashing in around him at the corresponding round at Oran Park in Sydney and then got progressively worse at Sandown and Bathurst.

Bright is the only driver this season to have won two races, with the series so far producing six different victors from seven rounds, including the spectacular breakthrough victory by Cameron McConville at Winton a few weeks ago.

This year Bright is certain he will be in a far better place than last year when a 19th at Oran Park, last at Sandown and failure to finish at Bathurst ruined his year.

"That really killed us," Bright said.

"I've got a good idea of what went wrong last year but they were very different circumstances with a lot of factors involved that many people don't know about.

"The good part about it was we fought back last year and after Bathurst were back on track. We have a far superior package now so I'm certain we are in a lot better shape."

Despite last year's three bad results in a row, Bright still finished the championship in fourth place behind Marcos Ambrose, Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife.

"Up until this time last year we were definitely the most consistent and this year we have done the same again. There were also a lot of races we should have won last year that we didn't."

Bright knows that consistency brings its rewards and that finishing races is imperative. The Victorian-based Holden driver supports this year's points system that ensures a closer series and has brought with it several different championship leaders this year.

The closeness of the series and importance of every single point was proven by the desperation of Ambrose to let his own tyres down in order to escape from a mud bog and get back into the last race at Winton in a scrap for any points he could get.

So far in season 2004, Bright's results look like this: 5, 13, 1, 10, 1, 5 and 3. He has avoided a washout thus far and is doing all he can to keep his slate clean. There was a moment at Winton, however, when he was spun around on the track that he thought that was it.

"What happened to Marcos in Winton could have been us and it looked for a while as if it was," Bright said of the nudge that left him stalled in the middle of the track in front of oncoming traffic.

"I thought at that stage it was all over -- I was a dead duck. There were a hell of a lot of cars coming around a blind corner at me but I managed to start the car and get going."

Bright believes Oran Park has the potential for more carnage.

"It could well be a venue that shakes up the field again," he said. "It's a track that I like but is a very technical track. We'll see what happens in what should be another fantastic race."

Reigning champion Ambrose is defending his Oran Park crown following his win over Craig Lowndes and Skaife last year. Ultimately the win was one which shored up his championship victory in the final round at Eastern Creek.

Things have changed since with the event now hosting two 140km races instead of the 300km event of last year but Ambrose' single-minded determination means only one thing.

"The best way to gap my rivals is to win," Ambrose said.

"The toughness of the V8 Supercar Championship Series can't be denied, but we perform best when we really need to win and that's the goal in both races at Oran Park.

"Points right now over my rivals are like gold and you can never have enough."

The championship points of second-placed Holden driver Steven Richards stand to change following a stewards hearing into a technical breach at Winton. The hearing was carried over from Winton and will take place at Oran Park on Friday morning.

Following requests from all stakeholders, teams were notified on July 19 of a rule change that meant any technical breach would result in exclusion from the session or race in which the breach was known to have been in place.

Richards' 13th at Winton earnt him 120 championship points.

-avesco

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Cameron McConville , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Steven Richards