Murphy celebrates Pukekohe clean-sweep Local hero Greg Murphy bid farewell to the Pukekohe V8 Supercar Championship Series circuit south of Auckland today in the best possible fashion with a clean sweep of an incident-packed PlaceMakers ...
Murphy celebrates Pukekohe clean-sweep
Local hero Greg Murphy bid farewell to the Pukekohe V8 Supercar Championship Series circuit south of Auckland today in the best possible fashion with a clean sweep of an incident-packed PlaceMakers V8 International today.
Murphy guided the Super Cheap Auto Holden to his fourth victory in five years at Pukekohe Park Raceway, winning in the dark after a horrendous crash two-thirds through the final 140-km race.
The Kiwi star was in complete command today, jumping 15 places to fifth in the championship after two rounds, which is still led by V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose from his Stone Brothers Racing teammate Russell Ingall.
Murphy was naturally delighted with his efforts, with four of his V8 Supercar victories coming at Pukekohe.
"I'm absolutely rapt. It was great racing and there was a huge turnout and it felt pretty good,'' Murphy said. "The last five years here have been like a dream. I know the plan is to move to another event. If there's a chance that we might come back here I'm sure everyone would enjoy it.''
Ingall felt he had made real strides this weekend.
"We had some very good tyres left for the final race and the team had given the car a rub-up between races and it was ultra fast,'' Ingall said. "In the last stint we were pegging Murph back. This has been an average track for Ford. So to finish second and third on a track we thought would be one of our worst was pretty encouraging.''
Ambrose, who was uncharacteristically involved in some incidents during the weekend, was thankful he was able to finish third overall.
"We had a bad weekend so to get good points out of it is good. We were really suffering in the third race and basically I was a road block out there. Then the rain came and we were able to get out of it," he said.
"It shows you have to make sure you finish and never give up. It was an unbelievable result.''
Ambrose dearly wanted to win for his owners Jimmy and Ross Stone, who grew up near the track, in this his final time in New Zealand before moving to compete in the United States. However, he had to be content with third place overall in the Pukekohe round behind his team-mate Russell Ingall.
The final race was held up after a high-speed crash on the front straight involving Kiwi Craig Baird, Paul Dumbrell and Cameron McConville who all hit the Armco hard travelling in excess of 225kph. All three walked away unhurt but it brought a lengthy delay, made more complicated by rain.
The field restarted on wet tyres for the final 16 laps with Murphy controlling things from the front from Ingall with Steven Richards (Perkins Holden) the best of the wet-weather drivers to push through to third.
Earlier Murphy made it two from two when he took out the second race in commanding fashion. The Super Cheap Auto Holden driver took the lead on lap five and was never headed in the 50-lap, 140km race. He had an anxious moment on the final lap, when he slid wide on turn three, but recovered to hold off the fast finishing Ingall.
Ambrose (Pirtek Ford) finished third ahead of five-time V8 Supercar champion Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team), followed by Craig Lowndes (Betta Electrical Ford) and Paul Radisich (Team Kiwi Racing Holden).
There were a number of incidents in race two including a spectacular roll by Brad Jones in the BOC Ford, bringing out the safety car for seven laps.
It proved a breakthrough weekend for Team Kiwi Racing with Radisich finishing fifth overall, their best finish in the V8 Supercars and a further sign their new package is showing plenty of potential.