Round 12 Â Boost V8 International, Pukekohe NZ 9-11 November, 2001 Top Ten Shootout Kiwi Crowd Spurs Murf To Pole Saturday, midday: Greg Murphy became the first driver in 12 rounds of the 2001 Shell Championship Series to convert a...
Round 12 Boost V8 International, Pukekohe NZ
9-11 November, 2001
Top Ten Shootout
Kiwi Crowd Spurs Murf To Pole
Saturday, midday: Greg Murphy became the first driver in 12 rounds of the 2001 Shell Championship Series to convert a provisional pole into the real thing in today's top ten shootout at New Zealand's Pukekohe Raceway, immediately crediting the patriotic home crowd for spurring him on in his flying lap.
'Murf' is one of the top Kiwi drivers in the 30 car field and his standing as a crowd favourite was left in no doubt, with the roars from the 25,000 plus fans commencing as soon as he took to the track for his qualifying lap, and continuing to grow until he climbed on to the podium to accept his trophy for winning pole.
"It is just awesome to be up here in front of this fantastic crowd," he said. "They really spurred me on to get pole today. But this is just the start. There are three long races to go, all with pitstops and we have seen changes in races brought about through what happens in the pits so the team and I still have plenty of work to do."
The New Zealand native overcame this season's poisoned chalice of the provisional polesitter by slightly bettering the time he set yesterday on his flier, setting a time of 56.90 seconds around the 2.8km track in his Kmart Holden.
That was enough to nudge Mark Skaife from the top spot, with Marcos Ambrose again the fastest Ford driver in third.
Murphy's teammate, Todd Kelly improved two positions in the shootout to join Ambrose on the second row. Castrol Holden veteran, Larry Perkins showed the benefits of his experience at the circuit to consolidate fifth spot on the grid while Craig Lowndes will start from sixth in the Gibson Falcon.
Ford favourite, Glenn Seton heads up the fourth row in seventh place and is joined by Skaife's HRT teammate, Jason Bright who will be disappointed to have tumbled from fourth fastest yesterday to eighth after the shootout.
Steve Ellery didn't quite get it right in his hot lap, but still improved from tenth to ninth courtesy of a disastrous lap from Russell Ingall who appeared to jam up the gear box before he even got stuck in to his flying lap, and was left with a less than competitive time.
Ingall came in to this weekend knowing that if he was to keep his dimly flickering title hopes burning, he at least had to match the progress of Mark Skaife. With points allocated for the shootout, Skaife has extended his advantage to the brink of claiming the 2001 championship.
Skaife needs only to finish ahead of Ingall on the track in this afternoons first of three 100km races, and he will claim the season's biggest prize.
Should that occur, Skaife faces the prospect of his season's achievements overshadowed somewhat, as the bumper crowd is here to see nothing but Kiwi glory, and the stage is most certainly set for Murphy to steal all the glory.
The first race is scheduled to start at 4pm local time, with tomorrow's races at 12.45pm and 4.50pm. <pre> Top Ten Shootout Results: (** NB: Provisional qualifying position shown in brackets)
Pos. Driver Team Car Time 1. (1) Greg Murphy Kmart Racing Holden VX 56.9052 2. (2) Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team Holden VX 57.0313 3. (3) Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Racing Ford AU11 57.1585 4. (6) Todd Kelly Kmart Racing Holden VX 57.1808 5. (5) Larry Perkins Castrol Perkins Racing Holden VX 57.2542 6. (7) Craig Lowndes Gibson Motorsport Ford AU 57.3524 7. (8) Glenn Seton Ford Tickford Racing Ford AU 57.3687 8. (4) Jason Bright Holden Racing Team Holden VX 57.5033 9. (10) Steve Ellery Supercheap Auto Racing Ford AU 58.7089 10. (9) Russell Ingall Castrol Perkins Racing Holden VX 1:09.8529
Shell Series Points Overall after 11 rounds (including today's top ten shootout points):
1)Skaife - 3066 2)Ingall - 2602 3)Bright - 2513 4)Murphy - 2292 5)Johnson - 2276 6)Kelly - 2089 7)Radisich - 1895 8)Tander - 1835 9)Ellery - 1818 10)S.Richards - 1758 11)Ambrose - 1655 12)T.Longhurst - 1646 13)Lowndes - 1635 14)Perkins - 1633 15)Seton - 1614
Pukekohe V8 Supercar action at a glance: (NB: NZ +2hrs AEST) Saturday: Race 1 (36 laps) 4pm Sunday: Race 2 (36 laps) 12.45pm / Race 3 (36 laps) 4.50pm Compulsory Pit Stops: 1 stop for tyres between laps 2-26 in each race
</pre> - www.shellseries.com.au