Round 1 Shell Championship Series 12-13 February 2000 Phillip Island
37 starters lined up for the inaugural Shell Championship Series of the new year at the much 'respected' Phillip Island Circuit in Victoria. Typically for this most southerly of the Shell Series circuits, unpredictable weather conditions provided the challenge of finding a suitable set-up which would minimise the stress on tyres the key issue facing teams this weekend.
Newly introduced for round one, the race weekend schedule comprised two 45 minutes races, one on Saturday, one, Sunday . Mandatory pit stops made tyre strategy critical for success, catching out some of the series' key players.
Race one 45 minutes Saturday 12 February
Lap 1: Paul Radisich ( PR ) stalled on the line, hitting the limiter Came round in 17th at the end of the first lap Lap 2-8: PR recovered six places , driving hard, but steadily to preserve tyres Lap 6: John Bowe makes first pit stop of the race Lap 7: PR took place from Larkham Lap 8-19: PR Moved up the leaderboard to second, lapping consistently in the 1:34s and 1:35s Lap 19: PR made mandatory pit stop Lap 20: PR resumed race in seventh Lap 21: Forbes and Seton made pit stops ( last of the 37 runners to stop ) Lap 22: PR settled into fifth Lap 23-28: PR held off Seton to take fifth, the two Fords crossing the line together
Paul said: " My first set of tyres held out better than the second set, so my progress in the second leg of the race was not as dramatic, but I think fifth was a strong recovery from the slow start off the line."
Race two 45 minutes Sunday 13 February
In contrast to Saturday's race, the weather turned sunny and warm, with track temperatures doubling to 50 degrees, further adding to the issue of tyre durability.
Lap 1: Paul (PR ) made a good start and held fifth Lap 5: Leading pack of Skaife, Tander, Lowndes and Crompton pulled away from the rest of the field. Crompton visited the pits. Lap 6: PR claimed third place from Lowndes Lap 7: PR's lap times fastest of the top six Lap 8-12: PR maintained third to preserve tyres, although filled Skaife's mirrors on laps 9 and 10. Engine problem surfaced Lap 11-20: Pit stops Lap 18: PR leads the race for two laps Lap 19: PR made pit stop Lap 20: PR moves to sixth after pit stop Lap 22: Perkins overtakes PR as Radisich struggles with power loss Lap 23: Lowndes exits the race with engine failure, promoting PR to sixth Lap 28: Chequered flag PR finishes sixth giving him fifth overall for the weekend
Paul said: "The engine was down to seven cylinders for three quarters of the race, which prevented us from making any moves on the front four. I finished fifth overall on the weekend, which is a good place to start the season."