Round 10 Winton Raceway, VIC 7-9 September, 2001 Race 1 Report SLICK PITSTOP HELPS MURPHY WIN IN SLOW FINISH Sunday, 1.15pm: In the end, Greg Murphy only had to follow the safety car for a few laps at an easy pace to win the opening race of...
Round 10 Winton Raceway, VIC 7-9 September, 2001
Race 1 Report
SLICK PITSTOP HELPS MURPHY WIN IN SLOW FINISH
Sunday, 1.15pm: In the end, Greg Murphy only had to follow the safety car for a few laps at an easy pace to win the opening race of the Shell Championship Series round at Victoria's Winton Raceway from Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife.
While rain has been a major factor in most of the proceedings this weekend, it was surprisingly dry throughout the race, but that didn't reduce the number of crashes and spins.
After a great pit stop from his team, Murphy was in the lead when the second safety car period was required to clear crashed cars from the circuit on lap 25 of a scheduled 32. That was the end of the racing action as the race was declared finished some three laps later with officials still working to clear several stranded cars from various parts of the track.
"I am glad I got through the first lap unscathed, then the pit stop won it for us and the safety car made sure that was it," said Murphy.
Murphy started from eighth on the grid in his Kmart Holden and managed to avoid an opening lap collision caused by Tony Longhurst that upset some other top ten runners.
Only Longhurst knows what he was trying to do when he speared up the inside and ploughed through the front pack, including Steve Ellery, Cameron McLean, Brad Jones, Jason Bright, Marcos Ambrose and Glenn Seton at the first turn.
By lap two, Radisich spun off and Murphy was through to third behind polesitter Ingall and Paul Morris. When he came in for his compulsory pit stop for tyres, his crew managed to get him back on to the track a car length in front of Ingall and he held that station until the curtain-closing pace car period.
The crashes and spins of several of the top qualifiers helped Skaife who kept his nose clean and climbed from 15th on the grid for his third place.
Winner of the last two rounds at Winton, Jason Bargwanna also benefited, coming from 19th on the grid to finish seventh.
But the most entertaining drive for the race came from Marcos Ambrose in the Pirtek Falcon. Having qualified 18th, he showed plenty of speed, aggression and daring as he passed more cars than any other driver as he sliced his way up to fifth before the safety car halted his charge. He will be the one to watch in the second race at 3pm this afternoon.
Craig Lowndes' miserable weekend continued. After recording his worst qualifying result of his career yesterday, the Gibson Falcon pilot spun off on the fifth lap and could not get his engine restarted, retiring from the race.
John Bowe, Cameron McConville and David Besnard were involved in a big collision towards the dying stages and suffered damage.
Murphy and Ingall will be on the front row for the second and final race at 3pm. <pre>
Race 1 Top Ten 1. GREG MURPHY Kmart Racing Holden VX 2. RUSSELL INGALL Castrol Perkins Racing Holden VX 3. MARK SKAIFE Holden Racing Team Holden VX 4. JASON BRIGHT Holden Racing Team Holden VX 5. MARCOS AMBROSE Pirtek Racing Ford AU11 6. PAUL MORRIS Big Kev Racing Holden VT 7. JASON BARGWANNA Valvoline Cummins Race Team Holden VX 8. STEVEN JOHNSON Shell Helix Racing Ford AU 9. MARK LARKHAM ICS Ford Team Smartcar Ford AU 10. GARTH TANDER Valvoline Cummins Race Team Holden VX