Fourth For Murphy And Gavin Leads Strong Performance From Kelly Racing

Alex Tagliani
Alex Tagliani

Photo by: Chris Von Wieldt

Pepsi Max Crew drivers Greg Murphy and Oliver Gavin have led home a brilliant performance for Kelly Racing in the final race of the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600 at the Surfers Paradise street circuit in Queensland, Australia today.

All four of the team’s Commodores finished in the top 11 in today’s 102-lap race, with Murphy’s fourth place finish lifting him to 11th place in the V8 Supercars Championship, just three points outside the top 10.

Murphy’s result was all the more remarkable given that the front left tyre on the #11 Pepsi Max Commodore did the final 68 laps in today’s race, the wheel nut too damaged to remove the wheel at the team’s second and final pit stop on lap 54.

David Reynolds and Alex Tagliani were able to leap back onto the lead lap following a luckless first stint, with Reynolds racing hard in the #16 Stratco Commodore to claim 11th place.

Rick Kelly and Jörg Bergmeister finished in fifth place today aboard the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, Kelly’s 12th top 10 finish for the season.

After starting from 14th place on the grid for today’s 102-lap race, Bergmeister drove the car up into the top 10 in the first stint, with Kelly then progressing into the top five in a race marred by kerb-hopping issues.

A charging drive saw Todd Kelly and Richard Westbrook come from a lap down to grab ninth place, after a drive through penalty and flat spotted tyre delayed the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore in Westbrook’s opening stint.

Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons won the final race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 today ahead of Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais, with Lee Holdsworth and Simon Pagenaud in third place. Bourdais was awarded the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy for the top international driver over both this weekend’s races.

The 12th event of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship is the Falken Tasmania Challenge at the Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston on November 11-13.

KELLY RACING QUOTEBOARD

GREG MURPHY - #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:

On the right front tyre stuck on the car for final two stints …

“I'm glad I didn't know about that,” said Greg Murphy.

“It's something you don’t need to know about so Barry (Ryan, #11 Pepsi Max Commodore race engineer) knowing me the way he does chose well and kept it a secret.

“It was amazing that it hung on but it was like it had the cords hanging out of it because it was vibrating the last 10 laps like you wouldn't believe. The last two laps were like the front wheel was going to come off it. It was lucky I think.

“We were really strong and then we weren't. I don't know if it had something to do with the act that that tyre was so old, it might have done, I'm not sure. It would probably start hurting the braking performance of the car.

“I’m a little bit disappointed to be off the podium but it was a great weekend. Olly did an absolutely superb job the entire event, he is such a class act. I really I don’t think there was much more we could do.”

On rising to 11th in points with strong runs at all three endurance events …

“The last three events have been really good,” said Greg Murphy.

“Phillip Island should have been a bit better too so we should have been a little bit further up.

“Bathurst has been awesome and this has been awesome.

“Symmons is a track I really enjoy. We've got a little bit of work to do there to hopefully try and make it a bit easier but so far this weekend has been great for the guys.

“To have Rick up there as well for fourth and fifth today, sixth and seventh yesterday and all four cars inside the top 11 today is testament to hard work. That's all hard, hard work and team work.

“This is for the guys, all the guys that have tipped in the effort.”

Greg Murphy comment on kerb issues in Sunday race ...

“I actually didn't like the kerb situation,” said Greg Murphy.

“I don't think it’s very good. If there were no concrete walls, fantastic, but we were going so fast. It's not a good thing.”

OLIVER GAVIN - #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:

“At the end there I was just stunned how well Murph was driving,” said Oliver Gavin.

“We didn't get a left front (tyre) on the car at that last stop so that left front has done a huge amount of laps.

“He just drove with such control, he is a great guy to work with, we gelled really well and now I want to do more.

“I really, really want to do more and to be finishing fourth today really, I’m really, really pleased for everybody on the Pepsi Max car and the whole of Kelly Racing.

“They've opened up their team and embraced all of the international drivers and really made us feel at home. I can't thank them enough.”

DAVID REYNOLDS - #16 Stratco Holden Commodore:

“Tags flat spotted a tyre early and went a lap down because of that,” said David Reynolds.

“Our strategy played out well, our car was pretty speedy and we got our lap back at a Safety Car.

“It all played out and I looked after the Stratco car, but it was getting pretty bad the last couple of laps with the tyre wear.”

David Reynolds comment on kerb issues in Sunday race ...

“That was the craziest race I've ever been involved in,” said David Reynolds.

“Everyone was short-cutting chicanes and just going mental. I just couldn't believe it.

“Usually it’s third gear through the back chicane but I was in fourth, almost fifth gear through there. It was probably a good 70 to 80 km/h faster through there than what we normally would be.

“Just crazy mate, crazy.”

ALEX TAGLIANI - #16 Stratco Holden Commodore:

“It was good result,” said Alex Tagliani.

“We did an early stop. I flat spotted a tyre pretty badly so I think it was the right thing to do.

“In a way it put us in a good sequence because we were holding on to P8 with tyres that were pretty old.

“We came in and did our stop on a Safety Car so that was perfect timing. When I came in we were about P8 and Dave jumped into the car, still on the lead lap, and then right after he made his stop the Safety Car came out and we thought we were going to cycle through into the front, same as (Jason) Bargwanna had, but unfortunately we got stuck behind the Safety Car and it didn't improve our position.

“We had to work really hard all race long to make all the passes on the track to get to P11 but unfortunately it was a Safety Car that caught us out and cost us a chance of finishing in the top five.”

On deciding to race at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 this weekend following Dan Wheldon tragedy in Las Vegas IndyCar Series finale last weekend ...

“It was good to be here,” said Alex Tagliani.

“I think also the good thing is that the team was very supportive and the series was very supportive

“This week was kind of a good week to be back in the car personally, just to have a moment of quiet time behind the steering wheel.

“But also SPEED, all the people from V8 Supercars, everybody that created this nice movement in memory of Dan was doing good because in the US all the IndyCar drivers are raising a lot of awareness for this auction that we are going to do in a couple of weeks with a lot of items.

“Since the tragedy we were able to get over 500 items given like helmets, race suits, boots, gloves and a lot of nice items.

“Since the start of this week here I think we have been having a lot of support from everyone. It’s going to help Dan's family with some extra money for the future.

“It was nice and it was a good event, especially with what the series was willing to do in Dan's memory.”

RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“I was very frustrated with yesterday because we were in good line for third there for a little bit but we just didn’t quite have the car and a few other slight problems put us a little bit further back,” said Rick Kelly.

“Today I'm very happy with fifth. We didn't quite have the car to get in the top three but I can tell you it was only a shock click or a couple of millimetre difference in the roll centre and we would have been right up there.

“The guys should be very, very proud of that. I'm ecstatic with the job Jörg did as well. He is a true gentleman and has been a pleasure to have in the team all weekend. I'd love to have him back.

“Four cars in the top 11 for the team as a whole is probably our best ever result. For Murph to have moved to within three points of 10th in the championship is an outstanding effort from the bad luck he had at the start of the year.

“All four cars should be very proud with that. It shows good strength and gives us good confidence heading into the next one.

Rick Kelly comment on kerb issues in Sunday race ...

“The lap record got smashed and we know why,” said Rick Kelly.

“From my point of view it's not racing when it's like that because the more you hop the kerbs the more you can attack others.

“It happened to me and we did it to others as well. The tyre bundles weren't ideal but it was the same for everyone and very fair racing. I guess I'm a little bit disappointed with that but I'm sure they will fix it for next time.”

JÖRG BERGMEISTER - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“I got off to a solid start, did an OK job in my first stint and came in about 10th at the end of my turn,” said Jörg Bergmeister.

“Rick took over and did a great job, came out in fifth at the end with a good Jack Daniel’s car and good strategy, so there is not much more I can ask for.

“We were not quite quick enough for a podium but I really enjoyed the experience of coming over here. Hopefully it wont be the last time!”

TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“Richard did a fantastic job all weekend but he had a really hard time there at the start of that race, the poor bloke,” said Todd Kelly.

“We ended up a lap down early on. The team did a fantastic job, especially my engineer Brendan (Hogan), to get me back onto the end of the train to get our lap back

“We did that and then just pressed on as hard as we could from there and got to ninth, which is a fantastic result from a lap down.

“The Jack Daniel’s Commodore was fantastic. I just worked the tyres a little bit too hard early on in that last stint to try and get some positions and didn't quite have it as the end.

“The car was certainly good enough to drive around in the top few as far as the pace it had.

“We are starting to make a fair bit of progress there and it's a shame we qualified back a little way, I just couldn’t get it around the two tight corners on the track in qualifying. Other than that the car was really fast and it was awesome in the race.”

Todd Kelly comment on kerb issues in Sunday race ...

“It was pretty insane there in that last stint with the amount of air and the amount of kerb that we were getting away with over the back was pretty crazy,” said Todd Kelly.

“We were a gear up right through the back there and the biggest drama was trying to stop the thing for the next corner because you had so much pace on.

“That was insane. It was really good fun!”

RICHARD WESTBROOK - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

“We had to come back from really far back today,” said Richard Westbrook.

“Someone made a really bad start in front of me and we lost many positions at the start.

“Then it was just like yesterday, I started coming through again. The Jack Daniel’s Commodore was really strong and I was doing lots of overtaking.

“Then unfortunately I came up behind (Augusto) Farfus and he closed the door on me. I just tapped him and unfortunately he spun and I got a drive through (penalty) for it.

“We had a flat spot on the front left as a result of that so we had to change the tyres and I found myself out with the 'main game' drivers.

“It was really good, I was really enjoying it and our lap times were great.

“We got Todd in and he did just a great job, he got us out of jail today. He got back on the lead lap and up to ninth.

“I’m a little bit disappointed about the drive through but really pleased with the result.

“I just so enjoyed working with everyone at Kelly Racing, particularly Todd and my Jack Daniel's Racing crew.

“Really looking forward to coming back one day.”