V8 Supercars Round 7, Calder Park Melbourne The qualifying for this weekends round of the Shell Championship Series was extremely close with the first 25 cars on the grid separated by just 0.8 seconds. Tod Kelly qualified fastest but it was...
Round 7, Calder Park Melbourne
The qualifying for this weekends round of the Shell Championship Series was extremely close with the first 25 cars on the grid separated by just 0.8 seconds. Tod Kelly qualified fastest but it was Mark Skaife who scored pole position during the Top 10 shoot-out followed by Steven Johnson, Paul Morris and Kelly. Craig Lowndes qualified 8th.
Steven Johnson made an excellent start and led into the first corner before being tapped in the rear by a late braking Mark Skaife and dropping back one position. The race stewards looked down on this though and imposed a stop-go penalty on the reigning champion dropping him at the back of the pack. After viewing the incident live we cannot digress how disappointed we are in the stewards decision. Skaife commented after the race also that he was upset over the decision.
The remainder of the race was extremely close but presented few overtaking opportunities for the leading cars with Steven Johnson crossing the line first followed by Paul Morris, Marcus Ambrose, Rusell and Paul Radisich. Skaife came home in 25th.
Steven Johnson had a horror start in race two and was quickly swamped by the leading cars and was back down in 6th position at the first corner.
Paul Morris took the early advantage opening a small lead over Ingall, Radisich and Jason Bright. Further down the pack it was a bitterly disappointed Brad Jones who got hit by the inexperienced Rodney Forbes and with a broken front right shock absorber Jones was unable to continue in the race.
Although the field managed to close up on Morris in the latter stages of the races they were again given too few opportunities to make a reasonable effort in overtaking and the field finished in the same succession as from lap 2 with Morris winning ahead of Ingall, Radisich, Bright and Johnson. Mark Skaife had less trouble overtaking though moving up an incredible 14 positions from 25th on the grid to 11th.
Steven Johnson got a better start this time and quickly moved up to fourth position but it was again the inexperienced Rodney Forbes causing trouble when he ran up the back of Larry Perkins mid way through a corner causing Perkins to turn around before being hit by the Team Kiwi car.
Caught up in the unfortunate drama were Dean Canto and Anthony Tratt who were involved with Forbes only seconds after his initial incident while Cameron McClean slammed into the wall only metres away. Forbes ran off the track further into the race finishing over 2 laps down in last position.
The initial result caused a safety car period lasting until lap 7 when racing resumed with Paul Morris leading over Radisich, Ingall and Johnson. Mark Skaife continued his charge from 11th on the grid setting the fastest lap time of the race but finished in 18th position after touching the back of Tander^Òs car on lap 19 and spinning around.
The order remained unchanged with Paul Morris taking the race and round win over Radisich and Ingall. Steven Johnson finished in fourth securing overall second for the weekend with Rusell Ingall third.
Mark Skaife still leads the Championship Series 17 points ahead of Bright with Ingall a further 300 points down.
The next race is round 8 at Oran Park Sydney on Sunday 29th July.