Konica: Season ender preview

History in the making for Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series The champion of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series will be announced this weekend as the series holds its sixth and final round at Mallala Motorsport Park near Adelaide, South...

History in the making for Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series

The champion of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series will be announced this weekend as the series holds its sixth and final round at Mallala Motorsport Park near Adelaide, South Australia.

For the first time in the series' five year history, seven drivers go into the round with a chance of being crowned champion and another four have a mathematical chance of walking away with the title.

There are 192 points on offer over the event weekend, with 64 points available in each of the three races on Sunday, guaranteeing spectacular race action for Australian motorsport fans.

Super Cheap Auto Racing's Luke Youlden is leading the championship by 10 points over fellow Ford driver Andrew Jones, followed by seasoned performed Owen Kelly. A mere 15 points separate the top three drivers.

Youlden held a handy lead going into the second last round at Queensland Raceway, but an over heating problem with the Falcon's brakes ended any chances of him finishing on the podium and allowed Jones and Kelly to close in on the championship.

Youlden's Super Cheap Auto Racing team will have the car set up for the testing Mallala circuit where they will try to resurrect the form that has helped him lead the series for the past three rounds.

"Mallala is one of those places where it is usually wet at some stage of the weekend, so ensuring you have a good wet setup in the bank is vital," Youlden said.

"It will be essential for the Super Cheap Auto Racing Falcon to stop well and get the power down quickly with the corners at Mallala being short and quick rather than a smooth radius at circuits such as Eastern Creek.

"Mallala is a track where you continuously seem to be stopping and then going again, so if you can execute that efficiently, there is a good chance you will end up on the podium at the end of the weekend."

Team BOC's Andrew Jones will be looking for the same qualifying performance at the Mallala circuit that he experienced at the same round last year when he recorded one of his best qualifying performances.

"The team have looked over the setup which worked at Mallala in 2003 and the different things which have led the Team BOC Falcon to good results recently and developed a formula which we believe will suit the circuit," Jones said.

"There have been no major changes, the car has been fantastic lately -- my thoughts are when you are on a good thing, don't mess with it."

An aspect that may come into the equation for the championship contenders is the full reverse grid race two, which has been at the topic of much conversion amongst teams and media this year.

"I've been pretty outspoken about the series format all season," Team Fujitsu's Owen Kelly said.

"There is always damage done by the more inexperienced drivers and with the series being so close, no-one wants to lose the championship because someone sitting in the lower 50 per cent forces a contender's retirement."

Jones argues that on the other side, the full reverse grid race provides spectators with the opportunity to see some exciting racing.

"The reverse grid race throws a bit of life into the racing and provides the fans with a lot of action," Jones said.

"However, we are in the industry of racing and should be rewarded if you win the first race by being able to start the race from the front of the grid.

"The other thing is if you have a bad first race, you get a good result due to the reverse grid and it provides you with the opportunity to stay in touch with the leaders over the weekend.

"On the other hand, we are also in the entertainment industry and the reverse grid race gives the fans fantastic value for their money. Like everything there are the positives and negatives for the race format and I guess the way you look at it depends on the weekend you have on the track."

Castrol Perkins Motorsport's Steven Richards will act as the official Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series Ambassador for Mallala, offering spectators some expert commentary over the two event days as well as handing over the champion trophy to the eventual winner of the series.

Mallala Motorsport Park is located just over an hour from the centre of Adelaide. Ticket prices are Friday only $10, Saturday only $15 and Sunday $25. Children under 14 are free when accompanied by an adult.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Andrew Jones , Luke Youlden , Owen Kelly , Steven Richards