Michael Simpson wins at Oran Park

Young Queenslander Michael Simpson appeared on a V8 Supercar podium for the first time and moved to third place in the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Oran Park in Sydney today. The most consistent runner in the field all weekend, Simpson...

Young Queenslander Michael Simpson appeared on a V8 Supercar podium for the first time and moved to third place in the Konica V8 Supercar Series at Oran Park in Sydney today.

The most consistent runner in the field all weekend, Simpson finished third outright on the day after three top-five finishes in the 25-car field. He qualified his EL Falcon in second place on Saturday and was then quickest in the morning warm-up for the second time in two race meetings.

Simpson managed to hold his position behind championship leader Simon Wills in the first race and then started from position nine in race two due to a reverse grid for the top 10 cars from the opening race.

He worked his way through to fifth in the second heat, despite blowing an oil line on the final lap.

Simpson then nudged through to fourth in race three to finish third outright on the day behind David Parsons and Craig Harris. The team battled brake problems through the weekend, but managed to produce another head-turning performance despite the setbacks.

The result is a credit to the Simpson team, which is running on a shoestring budget while they chase a naming-rights sponsor for the remainder of the season.

"I think today was a solid result for the entire team," said Simpson.

"My guys are virtually doing everything for nothing and it is a good feeling for all of us to be rewarded with a trophy.

"I would like to think we could reach the top step of the podium in the next couple of races."

Simpson has had great local support from Queensland Vehicle Warranty Network, MA Howard Constructions and Nerang Diffs.

One of his major supporters has been the Bruce Lynton Group, which has supplied the team with a workshop and team transporter. The group is also Simpson's employer and allowances have been made so he can compete in the entire season.

The Konica V8 Supercar series consists of six rounds in the Eastern states of Australia and has been designed as a breeding ground for the Shell Championship Series, which starts at Phillip Island in Victoria next weekend. The next round of the Konica V8 Supercar Series will be held at Winton in North-East Victoria on May 5-6. <pre> RESULTS

Race 1 1: Simon Wills (Holden VT); 2: Michael Simpson (Ford EL); 3: Paul Dumbrell (Holden VT); 4: Owen Kelly (Holden VS); 5: Craig Harris (Ford AU).

Race 2 1: David Parsons (Holden VT); 2: Dale Brede (Holden VT); 3: Craig Harris (Ford AU); 4: Owen (Holden VS); 5: Michael Simpson (Ford EL).

Race 3 1 David Parsons (Holden VT); 2: Craig Harris (Ford AU); 3: Owen Kelly (Holden VS); 4: Michael Simpson (Ford EL); 5: Simon Wills (Holden VT).

Championship points (After Round 2 of 6): Simon Wills 436, David Parsons 410, Michael Simpson 394, Paul Dumbrell 374, Craig Harris 362.

Saturday qualifying 1: Simon Wills (1:09.9021); 2: Michael Simpson (1:10.0844); 3:David Parsons (1:10.2340); 4: Leanne Ferrier (1:10.2915).

* The second round of the Konica V8 Supercars Series can be seen on Network Ten on Sunday April 1

- Brett Murray

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Series Supercars
Drivers Simon Wills , Dale Brede , Paul Dumbrell , Owen Kelly , Bruce Lynton , Mike Simpson , Phillip Island