Pukekohe: Race report

Bright wins in NZ V8 Supercar Championship Series Jason Bright has broken Greg Murphy's grip on his home race, winning the New Zealand round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Pukekohe today. Bright won two of the three races held...

Bright wins in NZ V8 Supercar Championship Series

Jason Bright has broken Greg Murphy's grip on his home race, winning the New Zealand round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Pukekohe today.

Bright won two of the three races held today after racing was postponed yesterday, Marcos Ambrose winning the other to join the Holden pair on the podium.

Bright was the third different winner in as many rounds this year, confirming that the series promises to be wide open through the 13 rounds of 2004.

He followed Ambrose in Adelaide and Rick Kelly at Eastern Creek as winners so far this year. The series now travels to Darwin for the fourth round from May 21-23.

Today's win put Bright (457) and his PWR team fifth in the championship. Ambrose' consistency won him back the championship lead with 532 points for the season with Steven Richards (528) second, Murphy (509) third and Rick Kelly (502) fourth.

Ambrose won the first of the three races today unheaded before Bright did the same in the next two races. The event winner is decided by total points over the three races.

"It's been a tough two years without a Championship round win, we've had a bit of dry spell, so this was great," Bright said.

"We've made good ground since the last race at Eastern Creek and we started off the weekend well in practice and carried it through - it was good to come here and hit the ground running."

Marcos Ambrose was comfortable with his second place for the weekend, continuing his amazing run as the top Ford in the series.

"We are rapt," Ambrose said.

"I'm happy to be scoring podiums and collecting points at this stage, the person who wins this year's Championship is the one who makes the least mistakes, you cannot afford a bad weekend.

"We didn't have much to prove here, we've been the fastest Ford since we've been coming here and we are the only Ford to have finished on the podium."

Murphy was also pleased to be on the podium even if it wasn't his fourth win in a row in New Zealand.

His dice with Ambrose in the final race involved two great overtaking moves, the first bringing the Ford fans to their feet in the opening laps and the second raising a huge cheer from the 30,000 strong Kiwi crowd as he moved back into second.

"It started pretty early when he pulled a pretty good move on me, and then I managed to catch him back later in the race," Murphy said.

"This event is a bit more special to me, there is pressure for me to win, but it is more wanting it so much myself and the pressure on. The All Blacks don't seem to be doing a good job for New Zealand at the moment so it is left to me."

There were few major incidents during the day with the first race being held in rain and the remaining two in dry conditions.

Kiwi Paul Radisich was lucky early in race two, spinning on the main straight at nearly 200km/h and just grazing the wall. He finished third in the first race and recovered well for ninth overall on the weekend.

The Holden Racing Team's horror start to the season continued, with Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly struggling for speed and consistency during all three races.

"It is a disappointing result given that we qualified on pole," Skaife said, "but unfortunately a bad start in race one set us back for the rest of the day."

Skaife failed to finish the second race after damaging his car in a biff and barge with Craig Baird and he ended the day in 21st and has slipped to 16th in the Championship. Teammate Todd Kelly sits 15th in the title race.

The next round of the series is in three week's time in Darwin, where weather conditions are virtually guaranteed the opposite to that endured this weekend.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Rick Kelly , Craig Baird , Paul Radisich , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team