Hidden Valley: Eight pre-race facts

Eight V8 Facts about the SkyCity V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley in Darwin 1. The SkyCity V8 Supercar weekend at Hidden Valley in Darwin is the 350th round of the Australian Touring Car Championship since 1960. The first event was held at the...

Eight V8 Facts about the SkyCity V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley in Darwin

1. The SkyCity V8 Supercar weekend at Hidden Valley in Darwin is the 350th round of the Australian Touring Car Championship since 1960. The first event was held at the Gnoo-blas circuit just outside Orange in NSW. This single race decided the title and so David McKay became the first winner, and first Champion, when he led home Bill Pitt and Ron Hodgson for an all Jaguar podium. The Championship was decided in a single race up until it became a six round series in 1969. It took 20 years to get to the 100th race (Sandown 1980) but with a 13- race series, the last 100 races have come up in just eight years. Greg Murphy won the 250th round at Symmons Plains in 1997.

2. This is the eighth time the V8 Supercar Championship has visited the Darwin circuit and if history is anything to judge it should result in a Ford victory. In the previous seven rounds Holden has won in the even years (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004) and Ford the odd years (1999, 2001 and 2003). All Ford victories have been in the Pirtek car - Jason Bright (1999) and Marcos Ambrose (2001 and 2003). Other than these wins, however, the only other podium finishes by Ford were a couple of third places to Glenn Seton in 1998 and 2000 and a third to Russell Ingall last year.

3. Despite history showing that it should be Fords year at Hidden Valley, the Holden Racing Team will be looking forward to the trek north, as this is a circuit that has brought them plenty of success over the years. As a team they have claimed Pole position here for the last five years with Craig Lowndes (2000), Mark Skaife (2001, 2003, 2004) and Jason Bright (2002) while in 2000, 2002 and 2004 they had both cars on the front row. Skaife joined Lowndes in 2000 and Bright in 2002 and, last year, Todd Kelly lined up alongside Skaife. They have also won here three times, Skaife (2000 and 2002) and last year when Todd Kelly took his last victory prior to his win in the last round at Shanghai.

4. It has been a pretty fraught start to the season for new FPR recruit, Jason Bright but he, like HRT will be looking forward to the trip to the Northern Territory. It was in 1998, the maiden Championship race here, that he scored the first of his six Pole positions and in 1999 he took his first series round win. Since then he has had another Pole (2002), two second places and a third to equal Mark Skaife for the most Podium finishes. He still holds the qualifying record of 1m.07.8546s, set in 2002 and the Lap Record of 1m.09.0149s set back in 1999 in the Pirtek Falcon.

5. Although the calendar now includes many different formats for each round, Hidden Valley has always been a three race round and in the seven rounds no driver has managed to score a clean sweep. Russell Ingall won two out of three in 1998 and 1999 while Mark Skaife also managed two wins in 2002 and Marcos Ambrose did the same in 2003. There were three different winners in the three races last year -- Ingall, Rick Kelly and Todd Kelly. Ingall's win that weekend put him equal with Mark Skaife on six race wins apiece while the only other multiple winners in Darwin are Marcos Ambrose and Jason Bright with two each. Although Ambrose has won two races here and been overall winner twice, in 2001 he took overall honors without winning a race.

6. Craig Lowndes went to China on a high having won the previous round at Eastern Creek and with the ultimate Chinese lucky number (888) but it went pear shaped and now he has to try and turn it all around on a track that, traditionally, has not been kind to him. It all started brightly enough back in 1998. Lowndes qualified on the front row alongside Jason Bright and he won the first race but from there it has been all downhill. Since then it has been seventh, fifth, seventh and eleventh while his best overall result here is a brace of seventh places in 1998 and, last year, 2004.

7. The Hidden Valley round is only eight years old but there are only nine drivers in this year's race who have started in all seven previous rounds. The ever presents are Mark Skaife, Glenn Seton, Craig Lowndes, Russell Ingall, John Bowe, Paul Weel, Jason Bargwanna, Steven Ellery and Garth Tander. Steven Richards (1998), Greg Murphy (1998), Anthony Tratt (1998), Paul Radisich (1998) and Jason Bright (2000) have missed just one round here while this year we will have four debutants - Alex Davidson, Matthew White, Andrew Jones and Steve Owen.

8. This round at Hidden Valley is the sixth in this year's Championship and so there are only four more rounds in which the drivers have to drop their worst score. As things stand Marcos Ambrose is the real loser as he has to drop the most points. His worst score is the 154 points that he accumulated in China while his rivals have to drop lesser amounts. At the moment Russell Ingall's worst score is 105, also from China, while Steven Richards drops 105 from the Clipsal 500. Todd Kelly moves to within 100 points of Ambrose on adjusted scores as he only has to drop his 72 points from Barbagallo while, teammate, Mark Skaife drops 90 from the Clipsal 500. Of course another bad result for any of these guys would be a problem while Ambrose still has a "get out of jail free card" up his sleeve.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Andrew Jones , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Glenn Seton , Todd Kelly , Anthony Tratt , Steve Owen , Matthew White , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team