Kelly converts pole for HRT into victory on the Gold Coast AFTER taking his secondever V8 Supercar Series pole position, the Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has led from start to finish clinching the opening race in the Gillette V8 Supercar ...
Kelly converts pole for HRT into victory on the Gold Coast
AFTER taking his secondever V8 Supercar Series pole position, the Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has led from start to finish clinching the opening race in the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the Gold Coast.
Kelly couldn't be caught by his rivals over the 22lap race distance, as approaching rain clouds gave the race the potential to be completely turned on its head.
Using a setup on his #22 Commodore that was better suited to damp conditions than the dry weather the race ended up being run in, Kelly fought off the late race advances of Garth Tander to take victory.
It was his first since winning Race 1 at the Oran Park round in August of this year.
Earlier in the day, Kelly had taken HRT's third straight pole position and fourth for the season with a calculated lap in the Top 10 Shootout.
But it was a bittersweet pole for the 2005 Bathurst winner after his brother Rick crashed while on a lap that had been faster than Todd's to the first sector, forcing the th Toll HSV driver to start from 10 .
Mark Skaife's luck didn't get any better today in the #2 machine. After starting from th 13 and holding down the position until his compulsory tyre stop, a loose left rear wheel nut forced him to return to pit lane to have it tightened.
The drama was a major blow, especially given that Skaife had vaulted past a number of cars in the cycle of pit stops and was on target once all stops had been completed to be comfortably in the top 10.
A further trip to the pits to serve a drive through penalty for bypassing the turn th seven chicane rounded out a miserable day for Skaife, who finished 25 of 28 finishers.
The V8 Supercars will be back on track tomorrow for two further 22lap races.
Todd Kelly (#22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ) "It's been a hell of a rough year this year. We've had a fair bit of place at a fair few places and a bit of bad luck and non finishes. So it's good to be back up the top and give the guys something back after all the hard work they have been through, particularly after Bathurst. To see Rick hit the fence knocked the edge off the thrill of getting pole, but in the race the initial start with Garth was quite close. From there on I tried to look after the brakes and tyres as well as possible. We'd looked at the weather and it looked like it was going to hose down by the end of the race so we went for a setup leaning towards rain and it was a bit of a struggle at the end."
Mark Skaife (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ) "We made a few changes to the car from qualifying and it was actually a lot better in the race. But the bad pit stop basically took us out of where we should have been, with would have been around seventh or eighth. But at least the car was a lot better and we'll make some more changes tonight and go attack again tomorrow."