Rick Kelly took a stunning fifth place during a dramatic Race 3 at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today.
Nissan Motorsport has got the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship off to a great start after Rick Kelly took a stunning fifth place during a dramatic Race 3 at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today.
Kelly, driver of the #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima, fought back from two Pit Lane Drive-Through penalties, plus a delayed pit stop to fix damage, to come home fifth.
Following his sixth and 11th placed results yesterday, the result has placed him fifth overall in the title chase.
Norton driver James Moffat finished ninth today and sits 10th in the championship, despite a drive-through penalty for a collision with Will Davison.
The #36 Norton Nissan of Michael Caruso raced brilliantly through the day, but his chance of a strong result was taken away when reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup attempted a bold pass on him at the Turn 9 hairpin. The pair collided, damaging the toe link on the right rear of his Nissan Altima.
Caruso salvaged 14th place in the race and currently runs 11th in the championship.
Todd Kelly had the most frustrating day, only completing two laps of the race when a throttle pedal broke on the second lap. He sits 20th in the points standings.
The next event on the V8 Supercars Championship calendar is the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria on March 13-16.
Rick Kelly - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima:
Race 3: 5th
Championship position: 5th
"What an amazing race!" said Rick Kelly.
"There was so much going on out there, I must admit I was extremely surprised by a few things out there.
"First of all, I got squeezed at the very first corner with Garth Tander, he ran me into the tyre bundle, it damaged my steering and damaged the car, so in the pit stop it took an additional 20 seconds to change the wheel. But that's racing.
"The next incident was that restart, we got a drive through penalty, and it was a complete surprise to me!
"I still don't know what we did wrong; for me a safety car is put out for safety reasons, so at the end of it you just want to resume racing in a fair manner.
"It's absolutely been a lottery with every restart we have done under this new format. I'm disappointed by that.
"Then I had another drive through penalty for speeding in pit lane, but I obviously have to put my hand up for that one, if that has happened then it is absolutely completely my fault.
"So after those two penalties, we were right back, and we had to race really hard, we lost a lap, I managed to get it back, a Safety Car came at the right time for us, we pitted for new tyres, and I was able to fight back to fifth.
"It's probably the most eventful race I can remember having, so I'm really excited about that, we've got good points to take away, and we flexed a bit of muscle from Jack Daniel's Racing's point of view to say that we are back."
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 3: 9th
Championship position: 10th
“It was a pretty crazy day for us, so to wind up ninth after all the dramas we had was a great job by every one in the Norton Nissan team,” said James Moffat.
“In regards to the incident with Will (Davison), it was probably one of those things where the penalty was judged on the result of the incident. I’m not sure my penalty was entirely fair. I had to turn in at some point otherwise I was going to run into the fence. If it had been the same collision at Turn 4 or Turn 5, it probably wouldn’t have been an incident.
“It was unfortunate, and you never want that sort of accident to happen.
“With all the things that were going on, it was a pretty good day, and we’ll move onto the Grand Prix. We’ve got a bit of work to do, so we’ll put our heads down and see if we can come up with a better package.”
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
Race 3: 14th
Championship position: 11th
“We are pretty disappointed. We had a top five in the bag, there was only 15 laps to go and we were looking pretty comfortable,” said Michael Caruso.
“Jamie (Whincup) went for a pass from pretty far back and slid into me. It broke some arms in the rear of the car and I was out of contention.
“The boys did a great job to get me back out to finish 14th.
“Without that incident, we might have been inside the top seven of the championship which would have been nice, but we’ll go away and work on it at the Grand Prix.”
Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima
Race 3: DNF
Championship position: 20th
"That's pretty hard to take," Todd Kelly said.
"At the start of the season, to come out of such a big points race with no points on Sunday in Adelaide is not really the way to kick off the season.
"It was tough yesterday too. We had really good pace, and we had a failure with the steering which put me from seventh back to 16th, but we were actually lucky to finish at all.
"So it's a pretty rough start, but the cars were quite pacey, it's just a shame we didn't get a chance to stay out there and see what we could do with them.
"The positive is that it has only broken a throttle pedal, that we couldn't repair in time to get back out, other than that the car is perfectly straight.
"It's not a huge turn around to get to the next round, and hopefully we can show what the car's true potential is at the Grand Prix."