Todd Kelly scores first Aussie win in China Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has scored a historic win this afternoon at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. Kelly charged to the flag to take race one honours in the first V8 Supercar ...
Todd Kelly scores first Aussie win in China
Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly has scored a historic win this afternoon at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. Kelly charged to the flag to take race one honours in the first V8 Supercar race outside of Australasia from Steve Richards and pole winner Mark Skaife. Kelly said he was excited to take the win which also puts his Championship quest back on track.
"You concentrate so hard during the race it doesn't really sink in," he said, "but when I crossed the line and looked up into the grand stand it was a pretty special moment.
"I didn't come into the weekend thinking about it that way, but I can tell you it feels great.
"It's been a little while coming, we've had a bit of a rough trot at the start of this season and it is good to get it all going again. I was a little fortunate that Richo (Steve Richards) went a bit deep and I was able to sneak up the inside as it tightened up a bit.
"It is certainly very special, but the most important thing is to come away with the first round win in China."
Steve Richards was second across the line after leading the opening laps in the race, losing the lead to Kelly mid-distance when he locked a wheel going into turn one.
"The car wasn't quite as good when it had some fuel in it, but it got better as the fuel load dropped and then we were able to hunt Todd (Kelly) down," Richards said.
"There is no doubt when you have a three race format and have the first race on Saturday that you are little more cautious, we try to figure out the car in race trim and see where we are and not do anything silly while trying to race hard.
"It is hot and humid outside today, so you sweat a little bit more, but it not any harder than usual. It is a good track because there are good opportunities for passing; you can make good ground down the back straight if you get good drive out of the last corner and that opens up the hairpin."
Mark Skaife was third, scoring his first pole position of the year during the Top 10 Shootout earlier in the day. Skaife made a slower start off the line than Richards who was alongside him on the grid, and in the opening laps he was following Richards so closely he couldn't see the tyres on the inside of turn eleven.
As a result, Skaife's Holden encountered damage to the steering and the nose of his car on contact with the tyres, and lost time during his compulsory pit stop while the panel damage was repaired.
"I bumped them (the tyres) when following Richards and then I bumped them again while following Lowndes," Skaife said, "but we didn't have a good enough car in the race, and those two things combined cost us a result.
"(The first bump) grabbed the wheel a little and bent the steering, but most of the cars were struggling with the same sort of oversteer near the end so it didn't hurt us too much.
"We need to congratulate AVESCO, the race organisers from the Greenland Group and Octagon for getting us here. Many years ago we would never have dreamed of something like this... to be here and to put on a great race like this a tremendous opportunity."
Craig Lowndes followed Skaife home in fourth after capitalising on a small error by current Championship leader Marcos Ambrose who had been running third for the majority of the race. Ambrose had earlier locked his rear tyres in the hairpin to let Skaife through into third, and ended the race in fifth.
There are two races tomorrow to close out the historic first round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Shanghai International Circuit in China, the first at 12:20pm AEST and the second at 3:30pm.
Following an investigation by the IPO, and an admission by the competitor, the Stewards found that Car #23, Jamie Whincup, was in breach of rules, failure to have car in pit bay prior to the Shootout (D126.96.36.199). The Stewards imposed a penalty of exclusion from the session. Car #23 started Race 1 from position 10 on the grid.