Murphy And Simonsen On Bathurst Podium With Third Place
Pepsi Max Crew drivers Greg Murphy and Allan Simonsen have stood on the famous Mount Panorama podium after finishing third in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in New South Wales today.
One day after Murphy’s sensational pole position in the Top 10 Shootout, the pair scored Kelly Racing’s first Bathurst 1000 podium to cap a strong weekend for the #11 Pepsi Max Commodore.
Murphy led away from pole position in today’s 161-lap race but the middle stages of the race saw the entry slip outside the top 10.
As Murphy clawed his way back into the top 10, race strategy worked to his advantage when a Safety Car was called when the Kiwi ace pitted on lap 139 just as Murphy made his final pit stop.
Murphy was second at the final restart, his chances for a podium were again alive. While he could not keep Craig Lowndes behind, the #11 Pepsi Max Commodore comfortably held third place all the way to the chequered flag.
The #16 Stratco Commodore of David Reynolds and Tim Blanchard also showed strong pace and top 10 potential at Mount Panorama today, but alternator failure saw the Kelly Racing pit crew forced to make two lengthy pit stops to fix the electrical problem.
Such was the pace of the two Stratco Racing young guns that the car was able to get back on the lead lap, recovering to claim 19th place.
Both Jack Daniel’s Commodores also showed top 10 potential, but fell off the lead lap due to problems of their own. Todd Kelly and David Russell’s #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore sheered the drive pegs off the right rear hub, while the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore of Rick Kelly and Owen Kelly suffered from an oil leak in the closing stages of the race.
Cameron Waters and Grant Denyer had a tough day aboard the #77 Shannons Mars Commodore. After a steady start from Denyer, Waters made contact with the outside wall at Forrest Elbow in his first stint.
With over 50 laps lost while repairs to the front right suspension were made in the Shannons Mars Racing garage, Waters and the car returned to the circuit to be running at the end of the race, albeit too many laps down to be classified as a finisher.
Garth Tander and Nick Percat won today’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 ahead of Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife, with Kelly Racing’s #11 Pepsi Max Commodore of Greg Murphy and Allan Simonsen grabbing third place after scoring pole yesterday.
The 11th event of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship will be held in two weeks time when the Armor All Gold Coast 600 is staged on the streets of Surfers Paradise on October 21-23.
- The first Bathurst 1000 podium and endurance event podium for Kelly Racing, which was launched in March 2009
- Greg Murphy’s 37th V8 Supercars Championship podium finish (his first for Kelly Racing)
- Allan Simonsen’s first V8 Supercars Championship podium finish
Kelly Racing has now scored nine podiums in its short history:
* Rick Kelly – third place (Saturday at Phillip Island – November 2009)
* Rick Kelly – second place (Sunday at Phillip Island – November 2009)
* Todd Kelly – second place (Saturday at Barbagallo – November 2009)
* Rick Kelly – third place (Saturday at Sydney – December 2010)
* Rick Kelly – second place (Sunday at Adelaide – March 2011)
* Rick Kelly – first place (Saturday at Hamilton – April 2011)
* Todd Kelly – third place (Saturday at Hamilton – April 2011)
* Rick Kelly – first place (Saturday at Darwin – June 2011)
* Greg Murphy and Allan Simonsen (Sunday at Bathurst – October 2011)
KELLY RACING QUOTEBOARD
GREG MURPHY - #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:
“Third is a huge result,” said Greg Murphy.
“I didn't see it happening that way half way through the race. I guess it's one of those deals where you never give up. We pounded it out there for those last two stints and it worked out.
“I had a really good second last stint, which helped put us in that position to come out for the last Safety Car second behind Garth.
“He and Lowndes were too fast today and we didn't have their pace. We have a little bit of work to do but it’s awesome for the guys in the team and awesome for Pepsi Max – their first Bathurst and we are on the podium.
“The two cars ahead just looked after and their tyres better and were able to do a consistent laps a little bit better than I was or were consistently faster by just a few tenths a lap there
“That was enough. I had to be a little bit careful that I didn't tear the tyres up and if I did we were going to go backwards so it was a bit of a compromise but obviously we had the speed there at the finish to get the podium.
“It is so tough out there and you need to find a stable place to go play and I think I'm really starting to get that at KR and I haven't had that for a long time.
“They have given me the tools and everything to be able to do a better job and we are getting better and better and creeping up on it.
“It takes time. You can't do it in 6 months in a new team. You probably can't do it in 12 months and probably can't even do it in two years.
“The guys that are winning races have been in their teams for a very, very long time and that just shows how consistent and much time it takes to get to that point.”
ALLAN SIMONSEN - #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:
“This podium compares as big as any of the others I’ve ever had,” said Allan Simonsen.
“I said to Murph when we got up on the podium this is very special, but I didn't think it was going to be that special.
“But it was very, very special. It's almost like standing at the podium at Le Mans. It’s just an amazing experience.
“I’m privileged to come here to Australia to race. I think this championship is one of the best in the world and to be partnering Greg is just fantastic.
“He does such a good job around here and I just try to support him as much as I can and today it worked for us.”
DAVID REYNOLDS - #16 Stratco Holden Commodore:
“We had a few issues throughout the weekend, just small ones but that's racing,” said David Reynolds.
“In the Top 10 Shootout I would have been absolutely going ballistic but unfortunately I probably dropped a second and a half to Murph just down the straight (due to rear end problem) so that would have put me somewhere close to the front row.
“I’m a little disappointed about that but hey, you just put it behind you and try to do better next year.
“But otherwise my Stratco Commodore is very fast, Tim drove it very well, I drove it pretty well I think. My first stint I hammered the front tyres a bit dropped a bit of pace but otherwise I learnt after that, so there is progress from there.”
TIM BLANCHARD - #16 Stratco Holden Commodore:
“I think it's pretty disappointing for our Stratco Commodore,” said Tim Blanchard.
“We really had good pace all weekend and we had a mechanical issue in the race today which put us a lap down.
“We were capable of a comfortable top ten at least if not better so it’s pretty disappointing.
“This is such a tough event - you learn that pretty quickly.
“I’m pretty happy to get a Bathurst 1000 start under my belt now so I can't wait to get back here next year, do it again and do a better job.”
GRANT DENYER - #77 Shannons Mars Holden Commodore:
“It was good to feel the event out again and get back in a car and see how I coped,” said Grant Denyer.
“It’s good that the car finished, it was important for the end of the TV show and it was important for Cam to build his confidence back up again after making an error like that.
“I think that will salvage some things for him and his career but he did a great job. He was fast, he will learn from this.
“The reasons why we love coming to this place is that it's dangerous. Unfortunately we were one of the stories as to why it is dangerous.
“More famous and successful racing car drivers have been bitten bigger than Cam was so you have to put into perspective.
“It was still a remarkable achievement to have never to have raced a V8 Supercar and never driven around the mountain and to do the job he did.
“We were asking a lot of him and he really equipped himself well. One tiny little lapse of concentration won't taint his career or his growth.
“He's got the goods and I think we will see him around for many years to come.”
CAMERON WATERS - #77 Shannons Mars Holden Commodore:
“Bathurst has just been a massive race and a massive week for me,” said Cameron Waters.
“I’ve never experienced being in a car more than about 14 laps in one go and in one stint today I did about 40 laps, so it’s something really tough and very new to me.
“I got my first V8 Supercar shunt over and done with. I felt really sorry for the team because they had to fix the car to get us back out there, but it was great to get back out on track and get more experience.
“It was an awesome feeling to race at my first Bathurst with Kelly Racing and I can’t wait to get another opportunity in V8 Supercars.”
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“We had a struggle in the first half of the race and it took a little bit for me to get confidence back that I had in the car from the start of the weekend because it just wasn’t there this morning,” said Rick Kelly.
“Once we made a change in the actual race it started to come on really well and the guys did an awesome job with the strategy.
“I was out with a lot of the co-drivers and we plucked them off until we got right up there. We had a short stop and a different strategy to everyone.
“It put us fourth and our pace was pretty good as well. We were quicker than the guys in front but the Jamie Whincup fiasco cost us a lot of time and I went from fourth to ninth.
“Then we had a drama with an oil leak problem and those things cost us a good result at the end of the day.
“It's a disappointing thing. You don’t want to come to Bathurst and leave with such a poor result for the Jack Daniel's Racing garage.
“It's hurt our championship considerably. We've dropped to sixth now and it’s going to be very difficult in the last four events to get back to somewhere more respectable. It's very disappointing.
“On the other side of things the Kelly Racing garage has done an awesome job all weekend. For Murph to qualify on pole and walk away with a podium is an outstanding achievement for our race team and full credit to Allan, Murph and the whole team.”
OWEN KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“Our strategy was working really nicely and it put us in fourth,” said Owen Kelly.
“That Safety Car on lap 85 was perfect for us. It was when I was getting out of the car to get Rick back in until the end.
“It was all working great and then the whole Whincup thing screwed us over.
“We had an oil issue after that as well. At one point there is was looking really good.”
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“We had extremely fast cars and there were points during the race where they all of them could have been on the podium,” said Todd Kelly.
“We had four good cars after the first couple of stints after we dialed them in for the conditions today.
“There were even a few things in Murph's race that went quite badly and we managed to still get through it and do his Murph thing and do an unbelievable job and claw his way back up to the podium.
“It's an awesome job for Murph, Allan and the whole Kelly Racing crew to be able to do that.
“It's just disappointing for the other three full-time cars. They were all capable in the race after we got through that first couple of stints to press on up the front.
“Different things went wrong with each car. There was an oil drama with Rick's car, the drive pegs sheered off on the left rear on my car and Reynolds had an alternator drama on his car - all those problems came at points where that car was in the top 10.
“Today I had one of the best cars' I’ve ever driven around here. We made quite a big change in one of ‘Coighty's’ (David Russell) pit stops and it completely transformed the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore.
“We had three sets of new green tyres sitting i the rack ready to come home with so it was on for sure.
“We were well inside the top 10 with all that up our sleeve, so it's pretty devastating to sit there and see the thing get wheeled into the garage and just watch the laps keep ticking over.
“It's a shame on one side but it's awesome for Murph and his guys.
“The Pepsi Max Crew is pretty happy with pole position and that podium result.”
DAVID RUSSELL - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“It started to roll out pretty well,” said David Russell.
“Todd did a great first stint and I pushed hard in my two stints to ensure that I made full time on trying to pounce on the other co-drivers, which we managed to do and get up into the top 10.
“Unfortunately we had dramas with the drive pegs on the left rear axle. We had to fix that and that put us out of contention
“As I look at the results I wonder what could have been.”