Hidden Valley: Friday practice report

Young Lions roars Holden back at Hidden Valley Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly injected some life back into the ailing team with the young protege to Mark Skaife fleeting the V8 Supercar Championship Series field in first practice before this...

Young Lions roars Holden back at Hidden Valley

Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly injected some life back into the ailing team with the young protege to Mark Skaife fleeting the V8 Supercar Championship Series field in first practice before this weekend's fourth round in Darwin.

Kelly and his younger brother Rick, driving for the Kmart Racing team, joined each other in the top five with championship leader Marcos Ambrose, former champion Craig Lowndes and last round winner Jason Bright.

It was some welcome news for HRT which has struggled. At present Todd Kelly is in 15th on the championship table with Skaife one position behind him.

"We're not getting too excited about where we are at the moment, we are expecting a tough weekend," Todd Kelly said after the first practice session.

"We made a lot of changes to the car for this weekend, and we ran most of that session in the one set of tyres. We put some fresher ones on it just near the end just to see we were."

Kelly said the rough start to the season means they are out for wins and podium finishes despite him claiming the two HRT cars were still down on power.

Ambrose said he was happy with the second quickest time, but like Kelly he urged caution over people getting too excited after the quick fire opening session.

"It's early days, those 35 minute session are pretty hard to get your head around... there is such a lot to do," he said. "Let's not get carried away with the first session, we are well away from the qualifying times of last year so there is a lot of time to come yet."

Rick Kelly said his session was a bit and up and down, some of the changes being made to his car improving it and other working against him.

"The start of the session it wasn't too good, but we made a lot of changes and that put us near the window," Rick said. "Coming here we'd really like a top 5 finish and to maintain or hopefully improve our Championship position."

Lowndes was a welcome arrival to the top five after leaving the track at one stage.

"We had the ABS going on at the end of the main straight, I was just trying to push the boundaries," he said, explaining his small journey off track.

"We are happy with the car, although it was low on drive, but let's see what everyone can do in qualifying because that is pay day."

Bright traded fastest laps for most of the session in another sign of his PWR car's speed.

"We were further up for most of the session and we were pretty happy with the way the car went. We probably had a better car in the middle of the session than at the end, so we've got a little bit to do."

Paul Dumbrell was an impressive sixth in his Castrol Perkins Commodore, with Greg Murphy sorting out an early session problem for seventh. Glenn Seton was in eighth spot ahead of bitter rivals Russell Ingall and Skaife.

The 35 minute session was run without major incident, Mark Noske landing himself in the sand near the end of his first Championship session of the year, and Dale Brede popped an oil line on the opening lap.

Tomorrow's action includes a second practice session before qualifying, a Top 10 Shootout and the first of three races for the weekend.

Conditions in Darwin are cooler than normal for the V8s, but the weather forecast indicates the heavy cloud cover will clear for the weekend.

<pre> Top 10 Friday Practice

1.       Todd Kelly             HRT Commodore                   1m10.0535s
2.       Marcos Ambrose         Pirtek SBR Falcon               1m10.3302s
3.       Rick Kelly             Kmart Commodore                 1m10.3932s
4.       Craig Lowndes          CAT FPR Falcon                  1m10.4518s
5.       Jason Bright           PWR Racing Commodore            1m10.4560s
6.       Paul Dumbrell          Castrol Perkins Commodore       1m10.4785s
7.       Greg Murphy            Kmart Commodore                 1m10.5116s
8.       Glenn Seton            Ford Credit FPR Falcon          1m10.5884s
9.       Russell Ingall         Caltex Havoline SBR Falcon      1m10.6133s
10.      Mark Skaife            HRT Commodore                   1m10.6531s

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Glenn Seton , Mark Noske , Todd Kelly , Dale Brede , Paul Dumbrell
Teams Holden Racing Team