A penalty for an alleged illegal start and a tyre puncture in the closing laps ended Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris' hopes of a podium finish in today's eighth round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Oran Park in ...
A penalty for an alleged illegal start and a tyre puncture in the closing laps ended Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris' hopes of a podium finish in today's eighth round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Oran Park in Sydney.
Morris began the 111-lap race with high expectations after qualifying third fastest in his VY Commodore, powered by a Holden Motorsport engine. On the opening lap he charged into second position behind the Pirtek Ford Falcon of eventual race winner Marcos Ambrose, and the pair quickly opened a gap on the remainder of the field.
Soon after Morris was informed that he was required to return to pit-lane for a 'drive-through' penalty because he was deemed to have made an illegal start. The decision, and subsequent loss of time, meant Morris dropped back to 26th place when he resumed racing.
The 35-year-old Gold Coast driver then consistently improved positions as the race wore on and was 13th by lap 30. He continued his momentum during the middle stages, and after compulsory pit-stops for fresh tyres and fuel, he was back up to eighth position as the race entered its final phase.
Morris then made contact with the Betta Electrical Ford Falcon of Dean Canto, which punctured the left-front tyre on his car. He dropped back to 11th, and was eventually forced to retire just two laps from the finish.
Ambrose won the race in 2-hrs 15-mins 55.404-secs, followed by Craig Lowndes in a CAT Ford Falcon, and Mark Skaife in a Holden Racing Team Commodore. Ambrose clocked the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1-min 9.792-secs around the 2.6km circuit. Morris recorded the second quickest lap time of 1-min 9.991-secs.
The results left Ambrose leading the championship with 1,351 points, followed by Team Brock Holden Commodore driver Jason Bright on 1,279.
PAUL MORRIS QUOTES: "To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. I didn't think there was anything wrong with my start, but the people who make these decisions did. It ruined my race, but there's nothing you can do about it. We had the fastest Holden on the track today, and apart from Marcos (Ambrose) probably the second quickest car in the race. That was the positive thing to come out of the weekend for us. After the 'drive-though' I was able to pick them off quite easily. My tyres weren't the best near the end because I'd used them up coming through the field. Even after all the dramas at the start I still thought I'd get some decent points, but then Canto and I came together and the puncture put me out of the race. All we can do now if keep putting ourselves in the best possible position to win races and hope things will eventually fall our way." <pre> RESULTS -- Race (111 laps): POS DRIVERS CAR TIME 1. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Ford Falcon 2:15:55.404 2. Craig Lowndes CAT Ford Falcon 2:16:07.858 3. Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team Commodore 2:16:14.934 4. Garth Tander Valcoline Holden Commodore 2:16:19.290 5. Jason Richards Team Dynamik Holden Commodore 2:16:23.285 6. Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team Commodore lap down 7. John Bowe OzEmail Ford Falcon lap down 8. Russell Ingall Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon lap down 9. Cameron McConville Lansvale Holden Commodore lap down 10. Dean Canto Betta Electrical Ford Falcon lap down OTHER: DNF Paul Morris Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore 109 laps
FASTEST LAP: Ambrose 1-min 9.792-secs
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 8): Ambrose 1,351, Bright 1,279, Murphy 1,233, Ingall 1,163, Skaife 1,145, Weel 1,109, Lowndes 1,094, Steven Richards 1,052, Tander 1,002, Rick Kelly 952. Other: Morris 623