V8SDS: Wakefield Park: Holden Motorsport preview

HOLDEN DRIVERS READY TO REVERSE TABLES IN FUJITSU V8 SERIES ROUND AT WAKEFIELD PARK While Holden's main series V8 Supercar stars cool their heels before heading to Winton in Victoria, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series is roll ing into Wakefield...

HOLDEN DRIVERS READY TO REVERSE TABLES IN FUJITSU V8 SERIES ROUND AT WAKEFIELD PARK

While Holden's main series V8 Supercar stars cool their heels before heading to Winton in Victoria, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series is roll ing into Wakefield Park this weekend with a fleet of drivers keen to take back the title.

This season the championship has seen an influx of Commodore drivers, all capable of helping take back the series crown for the Holden product for the first time since current Jack Daniel's Racing driver Paul Dumbrell won in 2002.

At the forefront of the charge is Bathurst 24 Hour winner Nathan Pretty in his Mack/Smiths Trucks Commodore.

Problems in qualifying at Adelaide's opening round forced the former taxi driver to start back in the pack, though with a fourth overall he has built a solid championship challenging base.

"My confidence i s pretty high," said Pretty, who tested along with teammate Geoff Emery at Winton in Victoria last Tuesday.

"Apart from the opening round in Adelaide, I haven't been able to spend a lot of time in the Mack/Smiths Trucks Commodore, so it was good to get back behind the wheel and learn more about the car which has different characteristics to the ones I've driven previously.

"We were quickest most of the day and set competitive times, which was good considering the day ­ running on average tyres and with not much rubber on the track.

"I'm familiar with the Wakefield Park track having driven the Nations Cup Monaro there before, so that'll allow us to concentrate on speed rather than worrying about which way the track goes."

Three of Holden's Young Lions class of 2006 are competing in the series this year in the form of Tony D'Alberto and Perkins Motorsport pair Shane Price and Jack Perkins.

Price and Perkins, who both made their full time V8 Supercar debuts in Adelaide and impressed observers with their level headed approach, head to Wakefield Park boosted by their experience in the opening round.

Perkins, the son of sixtime Bathurst winner Larry, also had the added benefit of driving in the Australian Grand Prix support races under Greg Murphy's #51 entry slot.

Their Perkins Motorsport boss, Larry Perkins, has been impressed with the form shown by his two new young talents.

"Both Shane and my lad Jack have done what has been asked of them so far, they have kept the cars straight and each have brought their lap times down in every session they have been in," said Perkins Snr.

"Hopefully they can repeat their strong performances with three solid finishes each at Wakefield and in particular keeping their noses clean in the reverse grid race."

D'Alberto, driving the Commodore campaigned by Rick Kelly last year, proved his pace in Adelaide's opening round by taking the category lap record. However, he had his problems in the two races and sits 13 in the championship.

Practice begins on Saturday at Wakefield Park with qualifying in the afternoon. All three races will be run on Sunday, with the Porsche Carrera Cup joining the V8 Supercars for the weekend at the tight Goulburn circuit.

HOLDEN MOTORSPORT QUOTEBOOK

Shane Price (#77 Perkins Motorsport Commodore VZ ­ 8th in points)

"I am currently sitting eighth after the first round where I was driving a bit on the conservative side. I am extremely excited leading into this round so, fingers crossed, I will be competitive. My expectations for Wakefield are to qualify in the top half of the field, and throughout the weekend to progress forward, hopefully ending the weekend with more good points for the championship. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to race at Wakefield, whi ch of course is going to make the weekend slightly more difficult, however the track is a lot more forgiving than Clipsal, so I'm sure the learning curve will be much easier."

Tony D'Alberto (#99 GMAC Commodore VZ ­ 13th in points)

"We had a good test last Tuesday at Winton with no dramas at all. We're starting to get a handle on this car a littl e more and the way it works compared to the one I drove last year. I feel a lot more comfortable. I'm hoping Wakefield Park is a bit better for us. At Adelaide we were quick but didn't get the result. The car's quick, but we've just got to get the setup right on the day. The potential is there to be the quickest car in the field. Having such a big field is going to be a massive issue on a track so small. The reverse grid race is going to be hell, but everyone has to deal with it. There are a few new guys in the field this weekend and that could make it tough. "

Jack Perkins (#78 Perkins Motorsport Commodore VZ ­ 17th in points)

"We are hoping for another trouble free weekend at Wakefield, and hopefully to impress a few potential sponsors. Adelaide was a great start to the year for the team, with both cars in the top 10 in race 2. Unfortunately I broke a gearstick in race one while following Shane through the field, but apart from that we couldn't fault the weekend. It's always a challenge racing at a circuit I've never raced at before, but it will be good to go to a track with not as many walls as Adelaide and Melbourne! "

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Series CAMS
Drivers Greg Murphy , Nathan Pretty , Rick Kelly , Paul Dumbrell , Larry Perkins , Geoff Emery , Tony D'Alberto , Jack Perkins , Shane Price