HEARTBREAK FOR KELLY BROTHERS AT BATHURST Jack Daniel's Racing pairing Todd and Rick Kelly have been left heartbroken after falling painfully short of scoring a debut podium finish for their new team at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at...
HEARTBREAK FOR KELLY BROTHERS AT BATHURST
Jack Daniel's Racing pairing Todd and Rick Kelly have been left heartbroken after falling painfully short of scoring a debut podium finish for their new team at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama today.
In the final stages of the race the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore of the Kelly brothers was in second position and in the thick of a spectacular battle for the lead, but in the end the entry was cruelly left to come home in eighth position.
After starting from seventh position on the grid, the pairing got off to a solid start in slippery conditions at the 6.213-kilometre circuit in the early stages, but had their stints shortened by successive problems with left rear tyre delamination problems.
When James Courtney spun at Reid Park on lap 81, Rick Kelly slowed to avoid the clash only to be hit from behind by Jonathan Webb in the skirmish.
As a result of the contact, the diffuser on the Jack Daniel's Commodore became detached, resulting in a black flag for the entry and the car being brought into the pits for the aerodynamic bodywork to be torn from the back of the car.
As well as the loss of the diffuser, bonnet damage resulted in a change in the rear wing angle of the car, making it almost undrivable through high speed sections of the Mount Panorama circuit due to chronic oversteer.
Determined to continue their charge, the Kelly brothers turned in one of the most determined performances seen at Bathurst in recent years, sticking at the task at hand to stay at the front of the pack and be in second place with Rick Kelly aboard the ailing car with three laps remaining.
In a cruel turn of events, the younger of the Kellys was shuffled back down the order from second to eighth in quick succession when hit and passed by Jason Richards at Forrest's Elbow, having earlier survived two bouts of contact with Garth Tander, the second of which was a battle for the lead heading up Mountain Straight.
Nathan Pretty and Ben Collins drove a solid race to finish in 24th position, on track for a top 20 finish until Pretty spun the #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore on oil at The Cutting in the closing stages of the race, damaging the rear of the car.
Garth Tander and Will Davison led home a Holden trifecta at Bathurst today ahead of the pairing of Jason Richards and Cameron McConville and team-mates Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso.
The V8 Supercar Championship Series will be back in action in two weeks time at the Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"For the dramas we had, everyone in the team did a fantastic job and we've definitely got the team and the equipment to do this 100 percent, no dramas," said Todd Kelly.
"We got a black flag after someone ran into the back of the car and smashed all the diffuser off of it and bent the boot so we had basically hardly any rear wing on the car and no diffuser, so the lack of downforce was massive compared to what it would normally be.
"To have a black flag and all the dramas that we had with tyres delaminating, to be in the position to have a crack at a win towards the end was outstanding.
"I can tell you that if any of the other cars around us had the same issues with the back they would have been in deep trouble, so that's definitely the one that's got away.
"We just needed some luck out there. It was just that one little incident that really changed the course of the day.
"We could have had that one.
"This weekend is the best the Jack Daniel's Commodore has been. Both Rick and I were extremely comfortable in the car before it had that crash in the back and still weren't anywhere near the level that the car was capable of during the race.
"With the tyres delaminating we were trying to drive it extremely carefully. We had no issues with fuel consumption, we were just waiting to get to the end of the race to push hard and would have went for it no dramas.
"We've aimed to get all the good gear in the cars for the enduros and we've showed awesome speed in the last two races.
"We just need to keep our chins up and get over this one and we're half a chance to win a bit of stuff between now and the end of year."
Rick Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"We're just really disappointed," said Rick Kelly.
"There was just nothing we could have done. While the Jack Daniel's Commodore was in one piece it was the quickest car I've had here in a long time and one that was definitely capable of winning the race.
"So we are just so disheartened by getting crashed into so many times and in the end there getting shuffled back.
"The car was just too damaged at the end to hold on to second. I did the best I can and I don't think I could have done much more, so it's just disheartening because the team really deserved something from today."
Nathan Pretty - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It was actually extremely disappointing to crash there right towards the end," said Nathan Pretty.
"I pride myself on looking after the equipment but I just came across that oil with no oil flags and the rest of it just happened really quickly.
"I was just basically in the car for a ride, that's all it becomes when you hit oil, and I smashed the rear of the car and I was upset with that because the Jack Daniel's Racing guys had done a great job all weekend.
"We hadn't put a mark on the car but then to crash it like that is not a very nice feeling.
"It was still good to finish the race and there were a lot that did not finish. I guess we'll just put that one behind us and be disappointed in the last part of our race there."
Ben Collins - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"Nath did a great job in the wet and there was very little grip out there," said Ben Collins.
"Unfortunately he had a big moment on the oil towards the end but there was no way for him to see it and no oil flags.
"But it's still great to finish the race and I'm really proud that we got it across the line for Jack Daniel's Racing and it's so disappointing for Todd and Rick not to get the win or the podium, which I though they thoroughly deserved.
"I've learned so much about this track, it's taken a while for it to sink in. So I'm going home wanting more but it's been a fantastic experience and it's the toughest race and the best race I've ever done.
"Le Mans is completely different to Bathurst, so it's hard to make a comparison. This race is just brutal, because it's such a long lap and it's really a street/road course and it's so punishing on the car and driver because nowhere is there room for error.
"These cars make it so challenging because it's so easy to lock a tyre or make a mistake. There are not just walls everywhere, you have the delaminating tyres and changing weather conditions.
"You have to drive these cars so precisely that the mental energy you are using at this track is higher than anything I've ever experienced.
"So I go home humbled with lots to learn and hopefully I get to put that all into practice here next year."