TODD KELLY FIFTH WHILE RICK SMASHES LAP RECORD IN TASMANIA Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has scored his first top five finish of the season with a strong drive to fifth place in the first race of the Falken Tasmania Challenge at...
TODD KELLY FIFTH WHILE RICK SMASHES LAP RECORD IN TASMANIA
Jack Daniel's Racing driver Todd Kelly has scored his first top five finish of the season with a strong drive to fifth place in the first race of the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway in Launceston today.
Kelly, a race winner in Tasmania last year, qualified his #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore in 11th position but used a combination of strategy and strong car pace to move up into the top five.
The 29-year-old entered pit lane at the end of the first lap to complete his compulsory 50-litre fuel stop but elected to keep his soft tyres fitted for the entire 42-lap race.
The decision paid off and Kelly, who also survived a door-rubbing clash with James Courtney down the back straight, progressively moved up the order to grab fifth place, his third top 10 finish this season. The finish lifted Kelly four spots in the points into 19th place in the standings.
Meanwhile Rick Kelly smashed the Symmons Plains Raceway V8 Supercar lap record with a 51.4713 second time on lap six of today's race. The previous mark, set in 2005 by Steven Richards, was 52.0170 seconds.
Rick Kelly, who becomes the youngest driver to ever compete at 100 Australian Touring Car Championship events this weekend, started from sixth position and ran as high as second as he waited until lap 22 to make his compulsory fuel stop.
At that stop, Rick Kelly switched from the soft tyres to the harder Dunlop control tyre for the second half of the race.
As other cars with the soft tyre fitted caught up to Rick Kelly's #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, the two-time Bathurst winner fell down the order.
A frustrated Rick Kelly still scored yet another solid collection of points in today's race, dropping one spot in the points to sit sixth in the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Standings after seven races.
Garth Tander led home a Holden 1-2 by holding off Russell Ingall to win today's first race for the weekend, ahead of Steven Johnson.
A 20-minute qualifying session and 84-lap race will complete this year's fourth event tomorrow at the 2.4-kilometre circuit.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"We need results like that for the rest of the year to get back up to where we should be in the championship," said Todd Kelly.
"It was a good run. The Jack Daniel's Commodore wasn't too bad but it wasn't quite there.
"We did the whole race on the soft tyres and that was a bit of a last minute decision.
"After what the car felt like in the race there and what we've learned, we would have made a fair few changes to the set-up of the car to optimise the soft tyre.
"So I had to look after the tyres and really not push too hard towards the end given that I used those tyres the whole race.
"That race has certainly given us a lot more information for when we run that strategy the next time.
Re the contact with James Courtney:
"I didn't need to be that way," said Todd Kelly.
"Courtney fired in underneath me at the hairpin and fired into my door quite hard, so then I gave him a bit of 'agro' down the straight and he ended up going off on his own.
"It's always the plan to try and pass without hitting each other but it doesn't always go to plan."
Rick Kelly - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"To be honest I'm pretty disappointed with that," said Rick Kelly.
"We were running fourth for a while and then up to second with other people pitting in front of us.
"We just, quite simply, did the wrong strategy and then we had a really long pit stop, which killed our race unfortunately.
"It's a bit of a bummer and hopefully we can milk some more out of our strategy tomorrow to make up for today.
"We should have really been in the top three there in my opinion.
"It's a shame that we weren't, so as a team we need to work out where we can improve."