RICK KELLY DRIVES CONSISTENT RACE TO FINISH EIGHTH IN HAMILTON Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has driven consistenly to finish eighth in the opening race of the ITM 400 at the Hamilton street circuit in Hamilton, New Zealand today. It...
RICK KELLY DRIVES CONSISTENT RACE TO FINISH EIGHTH IN HAMILTON
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Rick Kelly has driven consistenly to finish eighth in the opening race of the ITM 400 at the Hamilton street circuit in Hamilton, New Zealand today.
It was a relatively uneventful race for Kelly, who is keen to improve the car speed of his #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore so that he can pursue a podium finish in Sunday's race.
It was Rick Kelly's sixth top 10 finish from seven races so far this season, meaning he maintains seventh place in the championship standings.
Rick qualified in seventh position for today's race, his third top 10 qualifying effort for the season (not including qualifying fourth at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix event two weeks ago).
Jack Daniel's Racing team-mate Todd Kelly showed strong car speed in his #7 Jack Daniels' Racing Holden Commodore today but luck was not on his side around the 3.4-kilometre street circuit.
Todd Kelly qualified down in 22nd position after his fastest lap of the session was cut short by a red flag. Starting from down the order, Todd was turned around on the first lap in a multi-car incident at the Samsung sweeper.
With strong pace he worked his way back up the order to be in 14th position with 10 laps remaining, but Todd was then turned around a second time, this time by Fabian Coulthard, who was given a drive through penalty for his part in the incident.
Todd finished the race in 20th position to salvage vital championship points from the race, but given his good pace he is aiming for a top 10 result tomorrow, targeting a better qualifying performance to avoid the mid-pack carnage that ruined his day today.
Jamie Whincup won today's opening race of the ITM 400 in Hamilton ahead of Garth Tander and James Courtney.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It was a tough old race again for our Jack Daniel's Commodore," said Rick Kelly.
"We hoped to be a little bit quicker in the race than that. Yesterday was a much 'pacier' day for us so it was a little bit disappointing to lack a bit of speed today.
"The points drop off very quickly from first place backwards so you need to be finishing higher than what we did today to have a good shot at a solid championship position.
"So we need to improve the car a bit and move a little bit further forward.
"On a couple of the corners our car is actually very strong compared to others so if we fix the slower ones and get the pit strategy right we should be pretty strong tomorrow.
"The weather did come into play a little bit today. It's very unnerving when you keep seeing the rain on the windscreen because you're note sure if the track grip is going away or not and you are always that little bit cautious.
"I lost a bit of time to the others under those conditions so I need to push a bit harder than that tomorrow if it rains.
"If it rains heavily tomorrow it could go our way but who knows in those wet conditions."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"Realistically we were probably good enough to get up to about eighth but that was about where our car pace would have had us today," said Todd Kelly.
"I would have liked to have got up there with Rick and I was about 14th going into the last part of the race after coming from the back.
"But there were just too many stupid moves being made out there today. It was just ridiculous.
"We should have been in the top 10 today. If we hadn't have been on our fast lap when the red flag came out, we would not have got caught up in all those things in the race.
"So we need to focus on making sure that we qualifying where we need to be for the start of the race. Somewhere in the Top 10 is probably where we can get to with the car we've got at this point and we need to aim to be in the top 10.
"Of course we will try to improve the Jack Daniel's Commodore's pace so that we can be better tomorrow. With a better qualifying and a bit of luck we can be right up there."
-source: kelly racing