Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly flew the red flag in China as the V8 Supercar Championship Series landed firmly in Shanghai to an unexpectedly huge crowd. Kelly won the unforgettable event where an estimated 70,000 people turned out to watch...
Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly flew the red flag in China as the V8 Supercar Championship Series landed firmly in Shanghai to an unexpectedly huge crowd.
Kelly won the unforgettable event where an estimated 70,000 people turned out to watch Australia's premier Motorsport category stage the historic event in China. This followed estimated crowds of 10,000 on Friday and 30,000 yesterday.
It was announced after the event by V8 Supercar Championship Series Chairman Tony Cochrane that a driving scholarship would be offered to a Chinese driver in 2007 with an ultimate view to them graduating to the championship.
The partnerships with the Chinese and Australian Governments would also continue to prosper through the event.
"I am sitting here today as a very proud Australian," Mr Cochrane said.
"I can truly say this is the world's greatest touring car championship. We competed in front of thousands of Chinese race fans today, and now we look forward to coming back here for many years."
Kelly won the event ahead of fellow Holden drivers Steven Richards and Paul Radisich to complete a red trifecta for Holden, or General Motors as it is known in China. It wasn't a happy event, however, for his little brother Rick, driving for the locally badged Buick Team.
Ricky Kelly finished with just 34 points for the event when he failed to finish race three. But it was a very different feeling for Todd who became the first V8 Supercar driver to stand on the Shanghai podium.
"It is absolutely awesome, everything has come at once. To win an awesome race like this and to take the Holden Racing Team's 50th round win is amazing," Kelly said.
"There's no secret we had a bit of good luck today because you have rounds where things go wrong and nothing did this weekend. We've been with this same car for a while now, and we should be quick all the time from here on."
Richards was again his consistent best to finish second for the round.
"It has been a great weekend for us, we came here to at least stand on the podium... we always want to win, but a podium was the best result we could hope for with the car we had today," Richards said.
"While we always want a round win, I knew where we were in the Championship in the final race so I only wanted to make sure that I stayed up the front for the podium win."
Radisich gave Team Kiwi Racing its first podium finish in the four-year history of the team. But he was too exhausted and dehydrated from the grueling hear that he had to leave the podium and could not attend the press conference while he sought medical attention.
"It's absolutely a thrill for the whole team,'' team owner David John said.
"We have people in this crew who have been here since day one who never expected that the V8 Supercars would come to China, and now we've capped it by finishing third overall.
"And we've done it on the biggest stage ever for V8 Supercars here in China. Our All Black Holden has been flying the Kiwi flag to more than 700 million fans on television worldwide and in front of the Chinese who have supported this event in the tens of thousands this weekend.''
The wash-up meant that the gap between leader Marcos Ambrose was narrowed slightly when his worst round is dropped under the current rules. Ambrose struggled all weekend but still finished fifth for the event.
"I'm very happy that we have maintained a healthy lead in the championship," Ambrose said.
"We now go to Darwin and Queensland, places where we have had success in the past. All in all we did very well to ensure that I am still leading the Championship."
The next event will be held at the Sky City Challenge in Darwin on July 1-3.