Sunny Sydney saw the drivers preparing for a drive in hot conditions today at the final event on the V8 Supercar calendar for 2003 at Eastern Creek.

A slightly disappointing crowd watched the first up warm up session.

Team Betta Electrical drivers, Paul Radisich in car 65 and Dean Canto in car 66 were optimistic about their chances as they prepared to go out in this final event of the season.

At the end of the warm-up Team Betta Electrical car 65 had the 10th fastest time and Team Betta Electrical car 66 was 11th fastest.

Avesco had always intended to have a different format for the final round shootout.

All drivers were given the chance to do a fast lap as part of a whole of field shoot-out. All drivers' numbers were put into a barrel and drawn out to give them their place in the shoot out line up.

In the luck of the draw, Dean Canto drew early in the shootout as 3rd car out, while Paul Radisich was drawn to go out in 27th place. Canto posted a time of 1:34.700, which in the end placed him in 26th position on the grid to start race one.

Radisich recorded a lap time of 1:33.792, placing him on the grid in 9th place. Mark Skaife took pole position from Todd Kelly and Jason Bright.

When the cars roared into action for race one there was an upset at the very beginning of the race with Skaife being given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. This has effectively ended his last chance at a fourth year in a row of winning the championship.

There were no major racing incidents throughout the race, with most drivers concentrating on making the most of this last opportunity to improve on points and overall finishing positions.

Murphy however also received a drive through penalty after he managed to tap the back of Seton's car during the race, putting a dampener on his chance for a win in the championship.

For Team Betta Electrical it has been a great day with the announcement of a five-year partnership with the Ford Motor Company. At a media conference today, Steven Kruk, Fords Motorsport Manager and Roland Dane, director of Triple Eight Race Engineering made a joint announcement of the agreement, which was well received by all present.

Team Betta Electrical experienced a disappointing pit stop on lap 9 for car 65 driven by Radisich, effectively loosing him seven places. Canto experienced a similar disappointing pit stop.

Overall the Team Betta Electrical cars were running well and experienced no major mechanical faults. " I was very happy with the cars track performance today, although we are still down a little on power ", said Ludo Lacroix chief engineer of Triple Eight Race engineering.

"We are learning more about the cars with every race we compete in and will be force to be reckoned with once we have our data all in place - watch this space in 2004 " he said.

-tbe-