HRT heads into the desert for inaugural Bahrain V8 Supercar event While the Desert 400 in Bahrain this week is a complete unknown for the majority of the V8 Supercar teams and drivers, one team with a slight advantage is the Holden Racing ...
HRT heads into the desert for inaugural Bahrain V8 Supercar event
While the Desert 400 in Bahrain this week is a complete unknown for the majority of the V8 Supercar teams and drivers, one team with a slight advantage is the Holden Racing Team.
The factory Holden squad has the benefit of driver Todd Kelly's trip to Bahrain earlier in the year, where he and Garth Tander took part in a ProAm celebrity race in identical HSV Clubsports, albeit on the full Grand Prix version of the circuit.
This time round the V8s will use a shorter, 3.6kilometre version of the circuit, where Kelly thinks he'll have an advantage over his rivals for all of two laps!
"I reckon it will probably take the other drivers about two laps to get back on par with Garth and myself," said Kelly, who sits eighth in the championship and hasn't finished out of the top five in the last four rounds.
"That's how long it normally takes to dial in to a new track.
"The only real advantage that Garth and I might have is that we can word up our engineers on how to set the car up for the first session."
The V8 Supercars will use a shortened 10turn version of the Grand Prix circuit, which bypasses a challenging part of the circuit, rejoining the GP track near the back of the pit buildings.
The Bahrain International Circuit was designed by German Hermann Tilke, the man who penned the Shanghai track used by the V8 Supercars last year.
HRT enjoyed plenty of success at Shanghai in 2005, with Mark Skaife taking pole position and a race win, while Kelly sealed the round HRT's 50th championship round victory.
Luck still is yet to be on Skaife's side after another disappointing weekend at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, but the fivetime champ is excited by the prospects of a new venue.
"I enjoy the challenge that a new track gives us, both in terms of driving and doing the best job possible from an engineering point of view," said Skaife.
"We had a similar situation in Shanghai last year and our team coped with it exceptionally well the results proved that. "There are a few unique elements to racing in Bahrain and the sand will be one of them. At least there isn't a concern about the sand traps being big enough to catch any cars that end up off the track the track is surrounding by desert after all!
"Our luck has simply been nothing short of terrible in the last few rounds and you want to go into an offseason with a positive finish to the year.
"A few good results to round out the year would be the perfect momentum to carry into 2007 and the arrival of our new VE Commodore race cars."
Opening practice will be on Thursday in Bahrain, with qualifying, the top 10 shootout and race one on Friday. Races two and three will be held on Saturday.
Network Ten will telecast the historic firstever Bahrain V8 Supercar event. It will show race one from 11.35pm AEDT on Friday November 24, and races two and three from 10.40pm on Saturday November 25. Highlights will be shown on the afternoon of Sunday November 26.