FHOLDEN: NRC Racing Phillip Island race report

March 25, 2001- NRC Racing has started the 2001 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship on the podium thanks to the hard charging efforts of 21 year old Formula Holden debutant, Stewart McColl. McColl finished second overall behind double race ...

March 25, 2001- NRC Racing has started the 2001 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship on the podium thanks to the hard charging efforts of 21 year old Formula Holden debutant, Stewart McColl. McColl finished second overall behind double race winner Rick Kelly.

Team mate Emerson Newton-John raced to a fighting second place in the first of the two races at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit, greeting the chequered flag just one tenth of a second behind Kelly. The American was unable to display the same form in the second race due to a jumped start and subsequent burned clutch. McColl finished fourth in the first race (after dropping to the back of the field due to a bad start) and finished a fighting second in race two. The Newcastle driver also set the fastest lap of the day (1:25.6331s) during the second race.

Stewart McColl - "I messed up both starts extremely badly! I will be concentrating on rectifying this before our next round. I am absolutely wrapt with my race speed and the way that the car handled during both of the Phillip Island races. The team worked very hard on giving both Emmo and I strong cars for the round and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

Emerson Newton-John - "This round has been a great confidence booster for me - we have good speed and I feel very comfortable with my car. I jumped the start in the second race and messed up both starts overall - so there is work to do, but in terms of race speed and becoming accustomed to Formula Holden racing - I am very confident that we will be winning races this season."

Arthur Abrahams, Team Owner - "Despite some very ordinary starting routines by both drivers, both Emerson and Stewart showed that they can race at a pace to win. Once we can get them off the line with the rest of the field, I think the NRC Racing duo will be setting the pace to beat in Formula Holden!"

The NRC Racing Formula Holden Team will be back in action at the Clipsal Adelaide 500 from April 6-8, in two support races on the spectacular Adelaide Street Circuit.

RACE REPORTS

Race One - 12:30pm 14 Laps - Fine / 24C

The opening race of the Formula Holden season started with NRC Racing rookie Stewart McColl getting a bad start, the field slipping past and relegating the Newcastle ace to the back of the field. For American Emerson Newton-John, a bad start saw rival Christian Murchison move past the NRC pair into second behind leader and pole-setter Rick Kelly. Newton-John slotted into third and chased Murchison hard, passing him on lap 8 on the high speed approach to turn one. Both drivers then set about chasing the leaders for the next 14 laps, McColl racing his way up to 6th by the third lap, then up to 4th by the fifth lap, which was the position that he maintained until the chequered flag in a fantastic debut performance. Newton-John chased Kelly relentlessly, reducing the gap between them to one tenth of a second at the finish line, the American racing to a spectacular Formula Holden Championship debut. McColl's fourth place finish earned the NRC Racing Formula Holden rookie valuable points after a stirling drive through the pack, setting the second fastest lap of the race in the process.

Race Two - 2:15pm - 14 Laps

Once again both NRC Racing drivers got off to bad starts, in Newton-John's case it was particularly severe, the driver receiving a stop-go penalty for jumping the start, but the 26 year old driver's race was over with a burned clutch after the start, the American forced to retire after just a single lap. McColl also started badly, dropping back to fifth but racing fast and hard to re-gain lost ground just as the 21 year old rookie did during race one. By lap three he was up to third and then set on a race long mission to catch second placed Christian Murchison who was trailing leader Rick Kelly. By lap 11 out of 14, McColl passed Murchison on the main straight, taking a fighting second place, six seconds behind Kelly who won the second race of the day in a clean sweep of the opening round.

-NRCR

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Rick Kelly , Christian Murchison , Emerson Newton-John , Phillip Island