Kelly seventh in Tassie opener as bad luck strikes Skaife down again Todd Kelly has flown the flag for the Holden Racing Team in the opening race of the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains by taking the team's ...
Kelly seventh in Tassie opener as bad luck strikes Skaife down again
Todd Kelly has flown the flag for the Holden Racing Team in the opening race of the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains by taking the team's #22 Commodore to seventh place in today's 42lapper.
Fresh from victory in the last round on the streets of the Gold Coast, Kelly started the day strongly by qualifying third behind Garth Tander and Jason Bright, though a misdemeanor on the beginning of his Top 10 Shootout lap cost him dearly and he was forced to start seventh.
Settling into seventh in the early stages of the race, Kelly survived a tangle with James Courtney that caused a tyre to rub on the right front guard at quarter distance.
With the rubbing tyre a concern he was brought into the pits to complete his compulsory pit stop, rejoining behind Courtney again, who he chased down for the rest of the race.
While Kelly at least was able to salvage a solid top 10 result despite his dramas for the day, once again teammate Mark Skaife couldn't take a trick.
Having taken yet another pole position to become the driver with the most poles in the 2006 season (four), Skaife made a decent start but was beaten to the first corner by HSV driver Tander.
From there the #2 Commodore pilot closed the gap, though found Bright in between them once they resumed racing from their compulsory tyre stop.
Things quickly went downhill as the fivetime champion had a loose wheel nut that meant he had to return to the pits to have it tightened in an incident identical to one that occurred in the last round on the Gold Coast.
Rejoining in a distant 22nd, Skaife used his obvious car speed to move back through the field but was only left with a 16th place result to show on a disappointing day for the entire team.
The final two races of the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge will be run over 58 laps at 11am and 3.30pm AEST tomorrow.
The event is the 11th round of the 2006 championship with only the Bahrain and Phillip Island events remaining.
Todd Kelly (#22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"We should have been further up the order. I made a mistake on the Shootout lap and went from fifth to first gear rather than fifth to third. It's a shame to have had good qualifying pace and not quite start at the front of the grid, which is critical around here. I got held up as the others around me pitted when I came across the Price and Baird cars taking up the whole track, so I stayed out for one more lap. Then Courtney ran off the road and I actually passed him but we bumped and I lost more time. So from there on I didn't have enough speed to pass anyone."
Mark Skaife (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"Once again our car speed was very good so it's very disappointing to have another pit stop drama cost us a good result. I lost lots of time on the inlap before the pit stop with Bargwanna in front of me and the stop wasn't quite as good as Tander's. Rob (Starr, HRT Team Manager) warned me about Bright approaching but I was three car lengths behind him on the exit so I slotted in behind him. Straight away I knew there was a problem because the steering was off centre and the tyre was rubbing on the guard."