Surfers Paradise: Shootout, race one report

Ambrose and Kelly fire up in V8 Supercar Championship Series Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose won a fiery first race of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at this year's Lexmark Indy 300, clashing heavily with Kmart Racing's young gun Rick Kelly...

Ambrose and Kelly fire up in V8 Supercar Championship Series

Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose won a fiery first race of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at this year's Lexmark Indy 300, clashing heavily with Kmart Racing's young gun Rick Kelly both during and after the race on the Gold Coast today.

Kelly was in the thick of things when he was given a drive through penalty for a first corner incident with Ambrose' team-mate Russell Ingall. After an initial tyre change and the penalty, Kelly rejoined the field a lap down but right behind Ambrose.

The pair played cat and mouse in the closing laps with Ambrose claiming Kelly would not pass him when he made room, in order to give him safe passage to the line, and the other saying that he was "brake tested" by the current series leader as they crossed the line.

It all ended when Ambrose confronted Kelly in the pits about not passing when the Stone Brother's Racing driver claimed he had given him sufficient room to do so. Kelly begged to differ saying Ambrose had done no such thing.

The entire controversy was reported to and being examined by the stewards immediately after the heated end to the race.

"I had the race under control and I don't know what he was doing," Ambrose said.

"If he wants to play games I'm above all of that. Clearly he was riding my bumper and I have no idea why he was doing that."

Kelly claimed that Ambrose had "brake tested" him across the finish line by braking strongly while the Kmart car was a "cigarette paper" behind him. He claimed Ambrose later threatened him in pit lane following the race.

"It was very silly and very dangerous, both of us could have easily ended up in the wall," Kelly said.

"If I had have hit him we could have both been seriously injured. I was not interfering with the race at all. I just sat behind Marcos and this obviously upset him. I can't see anywhere where he was letting me through."

It was a drama-charged end to a drama-charged race. Pole sitter Mark Skaife got in a tangle with Ambrose at the first corner and led for the first 11 of the 22-lap race before spinning out following an apparent brake problem.

Ambrose won the race from Kelly's Kmart team-mate Greg Murphy and Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly. It means, with Jason Bright finishing seventh and Steven Richards failing to finish, Ambrose has further extended his championship lead.

Kelly and Ingall were as badly hit as Richards in the championship stakes by finishing 21st and 26th respectively. There is one more lap to complete round 11 tomorrow as the championship gathers great speed in the closing rounds.

-avesco-

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