Konica: Queensland Sunday race notes

Owen Kelly wins Queensland Raceway round as Championship heats up Team Fujitsu's Owen Kelly has taken out the fifth round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series at Queensland Raceway today by a mere two points ahead of fellow competitor...

Owen Kelly wins Queensland Raceway round as Championship heats up

Team Fujitsu's Owen Kelly has taken out the fifth round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series at Queensland Raceway today by a mere two points ahead of fellow competitor Andrew Jones. The win gives Kelly his second round win for the season and puts him in a competitive position going into the final round of the series in August.

Kelly led the third and final race of the event weekend from start to finish despite encountering three safety car periods that put a stop to Kelly pulling away from the rest pack and allowed Jones to put pressure on the Dick Johnson Racing backed driver.

"I had to work reasonably hard on the three or four laps after the first Safety Car to get a reasonable gap on the rest of the field and then try to conserve the tyres for the rest of the race, but every time I did that there was another Safety Car," Kelly said.

"The car has had good pace all year and with Queensland being our test track we were expected to be on pole. The team has put in a tremendous effort with the majority of the team working with Shell Helix as well this weekend and only about three guys dedicated on the Fujistu cars it is great to be able to end the weekend like this."

The race did not go unscathed with drive through penalties given to Wayne Wakefield for an altercation with Howard Racing's Cameron McLean and then one was awarded to McLean in the later stages of the race for a breach of the driver code of conduct.

The hot and dry Queensland track took its toll during the race when a spin by Wakefield after turn five started a minor grass fire that resulted in a two lap Safety Car period. The tight track also had an impact on Alan Gurr, Steve Voight, Jamie Cartwright and Aaron McGill who all failed to finish.

Smiths Trucks Lee Holdsworth finished the race in third position and also notched up his very first podium position, sitting third for the round behind Kelly and Jones. Holdsworth's third spot in race one yesterday, third in the second race and third today was enough to secure a podium position in his first year of V8 Supercar racing.

"We were hoping for a top five in every race this weekend and if that could be done thought a podium spot may come into the equation," Holdsworth said. "I tried to force Jonesy (Jones) to make a mistake in that last race so that I could get past but he was too strong but I was happy with how that last race ended and with all of the hard work that the Smiths Trucks team has put in this weekend, it is fantastic to get this sort of result.

"We were hoping for a top ten position as a realistic goal at the start of the year, now it is all starting to come together and I am feeling really comfortable with the car so it should be a good stepping stone leading into the next round and for next year as well."

Series leader Super Cheap Auto Racing's Luke Youlden had managed to finish the race in fifth position to regain some of the points that he lost with the DNF in race two yesterday and still holds onto the championship lead by 15 points.

His nearest competitor Jones, will be looking for a strong performance at the sixth and final round of the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series at Mallala in South Australia next month. Jones will be taking with him good form that has seen him win the past two rounds as well as a second position this weekend.

"I think we all went into this weekend nice and easy to make sure there was no major damage done to any of the cars going into the final round - bring on Mallala I say," Jones said.

Round six will be held at Mallala Motorsport Park, South Australia on August 20-22.

-avesco-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Andrew Jones , Luke Youlden , Cameron McLean , Owen Kelly , Jamie Cartwright , Alan Gurr , Aaron McGill , Lee Holdsworth , Dick Johnson , Steve Voight