Jack Daniel's Racing press release
Rick Kelly And Jorg Bergmeister Seventh In Surfers As Westbrook Shines
Jack Daniel’s Racing drivers Rick Kelly and Jörg Bergmeister have driven to a seventh place finish in the opening race of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 at the Surfers Paradise street circuit in Queensland, Australia today.
After Kelly qualified the #15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore in eighth place in this morning’s Top 10 Shootout, Bergmeister drove a solid first stint in his V8 Supercar debut, returning the car to Kelly in seventh place.
At mid-race distance Kelly was in fourth place with a podium result in his sights, but a Safety Car on lap 91 eroded the advantage he had over the cars behind, seeing him drop to seventh by the finish as cars with newer tyres were able to catch and pass.
This morning’s qualifying session was heartbreaking for Todd Kelly and Richard Westbrook, with Todd only able to post one flying lap before rain began to fall just seven minutes into the session.
Starting from back in 22nd place, Westbrook was one of the true stand-outs in today’s 102-lap race as he brought the #7 Jack Daniel’s Commodore up into the top 10 before pitting and handing the car to Todd on lap 36.
Todd Kelly continued the car’s strong pace, moving into sixth place in his first stint, but was forced to queue behind Jack Daniel’s Racing team-mates when cars pitted under Safety Car on lap 56.
Todd was able to bring the car home in 13th place, a result that did not reflect the strong pace of the entry, with both drivers determined to start higher up the grid tomorrow to give them a better chance at a podium.
Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais won today’s first race of the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600 ahead of Will Davison and Mika Salo, with Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons in third place.
A further 30-minute qualifying session and 102-lap race will be held tomorrow.
JACK DANIEL’S RACING QUOTEBOARD
RICK KELLY - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“Jörg did an awesome job, I think he had fun,” said Rick Kelly.
“It was a very frustrating race for us to be honest.
“The chicanes have got this new thing with the red poles.
“It makes it so hard. They turned off the Turn 2 sensors and we didn't know how much we could take.
“It was a real bother because some people were taking more than others and using that to overtake.
“We also had a couple of small issues with the car, just hindering us a little bit.
“Overall if we can fix those the car pace itself is pretty good.
“A frustrating seventh place for us because we could have gone a little bit better than that but there is always tomorrow to fix it.”
JÖRG BERGMEISTER - #15 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“That was fun,” said Jörg Bergmeister.
“I had a really good start, unfortunately I had to lift out of it a bit because someone stalled in front of me.
“But I would say it was a solid run. I came in in seventh and that’s where we finished in the end.
“Rick had a really good run. Unfortunately at the end he was on pretty old rubber and got caught by a couple of guys that had done an extra pit stop.
“Overall I’m very happy and I hope we have another good race tomorrow.”
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“We shouldn’t have been where we were in qualifying,” said Todd Kelly.
“That rain that came through really knocked us around, we hadn't put a lap in yet.
“Richard did an awesome job to bring the thing back without a scratch and chipped away against the other internationals and moved the car up to a good spot.
“I jumped in and was quite comfortable with the Jack Daniel’s Commodore. There are a few little improvements to do for tomorrow.
“We got ourselves into a really good spot and then got screwed in the pit stop having to queue. It put us back up the back again.
“It could have been a good day. We could have been up there but unfortunately we weren’t so we will have another crack tomorrow.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK - #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:
“I had a really enjoyable stint,” said Richard Westbrook.
“The Jack Daniel’s Commodore was great, I did what the team told me to do on the radio and took it very easy the first few laps.
“I actually lost a couple of positions at the start, I think I went down to 24th, and then it came back to me. The car was really good, we did a lot of overtaking and we came up to ninth.
“For a long while we were the quickest car on the track towards the end of the stint, which was really encouraging.
“Todd looked really good when he went out. The car feels great.
“Unfortunately we had to stack coming into the pits. It's a little bit strange for me because we don't have that problem in Europe.
“I can see why it's so important to have track position now. We really lost out there.
“It's been a great first taste of V8 action. I absolutely loved it, I really enjoyed myself. I just want to thank the team for being so good and helping me so much. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I'll probably buy Todd a drink tonight because he looks a bit down, but he drove really well. We just need a good qualifying tomorrow.”