Garry Rogers Motorsport driver Cameron McConville grabbed his first win as a V8 Supercar driver yesterday at a wet Winton track after etching out K- Mart young gun Rick Kelly at the last corner of the 100 kilometre race. McConville dove down the...
Garry Rogers Motorsport driver Cameron McConville grabbed his first win as a V8 Supercar driver yesterday at a wet Winton track after etching out K- Mart young gun Rick Kelly at the last corner of the 100 kilometre race.
McConville dove down the inside of Kelly on the final lap of an action-packed race, which saw series leader Marcos Ambrose beach his Pirtek Ford on the inside of the track, losing valuable points and relegating him back to 4th in the championship.
The rural Victorian track produced a number of surprises over the weekend which saw driver Craig Baird of Team Kiwi grab his first pole position, ahead of his much fancied rivals. The Kiwi put it down to his past experience as a wet weather driver, although he had to wait anxiously in the pits as the rest of the field went about tackling the treacherous conditions.
Come race day, Baird got bogged down at the start and Valvoline driver and McConville team mate Garth Tander took advantage at the first corner and passed him and set about building his lead. Holden Racing Team pilot Mark Skaife also took advantage of his opportunity several laps later when he squeezed between the Stone Bros. pair of Russell Ingall in the Havoline Ford and Ambrose, forcing the 'Devil Racer' off the track and back to 26th position after he waited for the traffic to pass.
The first safety car hit the circuit after a handful of laps when Jason Bargwanna in the Orrcon Ford and Simon Wills in the Team Dynamic Commodore came together. Ambrose managed to pick his way back through the field to 13th position, while fellow Ford driver Craig Lowndes parked his Ford Performance Racing car in the garage following engine trouble. Although he managed a smile, there is speculation that he may move camps next season unless the U.K. run outfit produce a competitive vehicle.
At third race distance Skaife attempted another manoeuvre, this time it went horribly wrong, forcing himself and Jason Bright in the PWR Racing Commodore off the track and David Besnard in the WPS Ford managed to sneak through. Skaife bogged his Commodore while Bright was able to recover and Besnard was not quite so lucky when he spun two corners later.
By lap 60 it was a case of Stone Bros versus K-Mart, with Kiwi Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly holding 1st and 2nd while Ingall and Ambrose piled on the pressure. After several laps Ingall passed Kelly and Ambrose looked liked doing the same until John Bowe in the OzEmail Ford slipped down the inside and punted him off the track, perhaps repaying him for an earlier incident. The indiscretion cost Bowe a 'drive through' penalty whilst Ambrose sat motionless in the Winton mud for a good 30 minutes until the team suggested that he deflated his tyres to give him extra traction. Much to the amazement of the Ford fans, Ambrose managed to get back on track and collect some valuable points and restore some pride.
In the meantime Murphy build up a handy lead only to lose it when the safety car returned to the circuit and officials removed Skaife's car. At the re-start, Ingall applied the blowtorch to the Kiwi, with Steven Richards in the Castrol Perkins Holden and Jason Richards in the Team Tasman entry sitting back watching the proceedings.
With a dozen laps to go Paul Dumbrell in the second Castrol car ran wide and carted debris back onto the track which resulted in the front four either running off or spinning. Rick Kelly took advantage of the situation with McConville and Bright breathing down his neck for the final two laps. McConville attacked Kelly and it paid off at the last corner when Kelly left a yarning gap down the inside. A disappointed Kelly later claimed the move was illegal, however, stewards saw it differently and awarded the Valvoline driver his first win in six years.
At the halfway mark of the championship, Jason Bright leads from Steven Richards, Rick Kelly, Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall, with less than 50 points separating them.