TODD AND RICK KELLY RANK SYDNEY AMONG V8'S TOUGHEST
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Jack Daniel's Racing drivers Todd and Rick Kelly say that this weekend's Sydney Telstra 500 is arguably the toughest event on the V8 Supercar Championship calendar.
Rick Kelly admitted that drivers must temper their enthusiasm at times if they want to ensure they finish this weekend's two 250-kilometre races.
"It's very tough. You only have to look at the results from last year, where only half the field finished," said Rick Kelly.
"So it's obviously a very difficult track and one that claims a lot of cars. We want to go there this year and be fast but we also need to be cautious in some ways to ensure that we get to the end of both races."
Todd Kelly agreed that the Sydney event was a case of 'survival of the fittest' as drivers battle it out around the concrete-lined 3.42 kilometre street circuit.
"Survival is the key there as well as having a good car," said Todd Kelly.
"As we saw last year, being fit and sharp as a driver is even more important than at other tracks."
Sydney marks the end of the second season of the Kelly Racing operation, with Rick Kelly determined to jump into seventh place in the series standings this weekend to ensure he beats his eighth place finish in last year's championship.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD:
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"I love the Sydney event," said Rick Kelly.
"We had a fast car there last year but hit the fence quite early while running third in the Sunday race. So we could not show the team's potential and the speed I had in my Jack Daniel's Commodore.
"It's very tough. You only have to look at the results from last year, where only half the field finished, which was some sort of record from memory.
"So it's obviously a very difficult track and one that claims a lot of cars. We want to go there this year and be fast but we also need to be cautious in some ways to ensure that we get to the end of both races.
"Two 250 kilometre races in one weekend is a tough ask and it could be hot as well given it is December. It could be just as physically demanding as Clipsal so as a driver you need to prepare well for the weekend and be ready for that.
"This year has been quite a tough year for us as a team so this is our last chance to score some top results. We would have loved to have taken a bigger step up the order than we have.
"It's critical for us to finish the year on a high. This is the last event of the season before we turn all attention to next year. If I don't get a podium as this event it will be the first season that I have not scored a podium since 2002, which was my first full season in the category.
"It's important to finish the year on a bit of a high. You are only as good as your last event and heading into next year we would like to have a good finish to the year and be a team on the rise."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Holden Commodore
"Sydney is a challenging place for drivers and I can't wait to get there and have a crack at it again," said Todd Kelly.
"It's our last chance for a podium for the year so that's what I will be going there to try and do.
"Survival is the key there as well as having a good car. As we saw last year, being fit and sharp as a driver is even more important than at other tracks.
"I've had myself a pretty good Jack Daniel's Commodore at the last two events, especially in the Sunday race, but we have had other things go wrong that have denied us a good result.
"I really need to put in a better performance in qualifying so that we can start in the first few rows on the grid.
"But at the last two events we have had a good car in terms of race set-up and it looks after its tyres really well.
"I've been able to race with guys for an entire stint, where as in the past we've had a lot of pace but had the tyres fall away and struggle after five or 10 laps.
"I think we've gained a lot of ground with what we have developed on the car in terms of set-up, brakes and a few other things.
"We are in a good position entering Sydney and now we need to put it all together on a race weekend and see where that puts us. We are definitely aiming for the podium."
- Kelly brothers have a sensational record in season finales...
* Todd Kelly was the overall winner of the 2001 season finale at Sandown
* Todd Kelly also won the 2006 season finale at Phillip Island and was second at Phillip Island to finish the 2007 season
* Rick Kelly was the winner of the final event last season at Oran Park and was third overall at the 2005 season finale at Phillip Island
-source: kelly racing