Racefan’s Ramblings

Collecting my thoughts, news and inspirations on Tech, Psychology, Motorsport and … well anything!! . . . . . . . . . STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN LIMITED SPARE TIME!

Rick kelly grabs championship lead Symonds Plains Fallout

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 13, 2006

After an action packed weekend at Symonds Plains the battered and wounded are now facing a short turn-around to get their cars onto a plain to Bahrain for the next round of the V8 Supercars Championship. In the first race on Saturday a couple of cars where destroyed, one permanently, before the first corner! The action just kept going from there. One commentator in pit road was showered with grass and dirt a number of times as nearly everyone had some sort of off. But the big stories are Rick Kelly’s taking the lead in the championship after a DNF for Craig Lowndes in the first race. Craig also had a spectacular drive in the remaining two races, including a few dramas, to net as many points as he could. With a brand new track, (and some runoff room) at the next track we are in for a treat!
So heres a few news stories from Crash.net and† motorsport news that pretty much sum up my impressions of the round.


Having gone into the weekend 30 points behind Craig Lowndes, Rick Kelly will leave Tasmania a happy man after opening up a 73 point advantage in the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship standings. The Toll HSV Dealer Team driver secured three top five finishes at Symmons Plains to claim fourth overall in the round on a weekend when main rival Lowndes hit problems in race one which then affected him for the rest of the meeting. After a dodgy start in race one due to a clutch issue, Kelly managed to jump Mark Winterbottom on the outside at the hairpin on the first lap to move into fifth place, only to lose the position again when Winterbottom him Kelly out of his pit bay by a split second during the stops. He then settled down to consolidate his position at the front of the field, inheriting fourth place when pole sitter Mark Skaife had to return to the pits to have a loose wheel nut tightened, and third place when team-mate Garth Tander suffered an engine problem. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “Obviously my start wasn’t too impressive, thanks to my clutch off the line,” he said. “We dropped back just a little bit to Mark but got around the outside of him at the hairpin, which was good, but lost a little bit to Mark in the pit stop, which put us behind him. I was a little bit conservative after the pit stop to conserve the tyres – we had a little bit of a squirm in the corners. But after ten or so laps I got back into it and had a bit of a shot at it. We caught Mark a little bit, but it was starting to get a little bit edgy again, so we just made the decision to sort of sit there.” Race two saw Kelly faced with an anxious moment when a chunk of styrofoam from a broken sign got lodged in his Commodore’s air intake, sending the engine temperature soaring to a crippling 135 degrees. However, quick thinking by the title hopeful solved the problem when he dropped behind a tailender’s car and into the swirling draft which dislodged the errant foam. In the end he only lost a single place and finished the race in fifth. The final race however passed without incident as Kelly secured a fourth place finish that meant he outscored Lowndes by 103 – opening up a nice lead to take into the first trip for the V8 Supercar championship to Bahrain. “I am pleased with that,” he said. “I was quite impressed with the way the team managed the weekend. The car wasn’t perfect early on, but they worked away it all weekend and we managed to keep towards the front of the field and come away with the points we wanted.After Bathurst, we decided we had to take a more aggressive approach to each round, but after the past two rounds, we will now return to the more conservative approach that has served us so well this season. Bahrain is an unknown quantity, but the cars we are driving are very similar to the cars HRT did so well in at Shanghai last year, so we are feeling fairly confident that we can give that round a shake.”

Craig Lowndes – Team Betta Electrical [Pic credit: Ford] Craig Lowndes may have lost his lead in the V8 Supercar Championship but the Team Betta Electrical man was at least able to salvage something from a tough weekend of racing at Symmons Plains. Lowndes headed into the Tasmanian weekend with a lead of 30 points over closest rival Rick Kelly, but his chances of a strong result disappeared at the start of Saturday’s opening race when he was forced into an unscheduled pitstop that sent him plummeting down the order. Lowndes problem in that opening race came after an incident involving team-mate Jamie Whincup that saw him go off into the wall at some 200km an hour, destroying the chassis that won the Bathurst 1000 in the process. Whincup’s off produced a dense dust cloud which created further havoc for following cars with Lowndes one of those involved in some minor collisions in the ensuing chaos. Forced to pit at the end of lap one to replace a front splitter, Lowndes dropped two laps and when he returned to the race he circulated in 27th place to at least pick up some points. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “It was just one of those incidents that were unavoidable,” he said. “Both Murph and I moved left to try and keep out of Jamie’s path and I put a wheel out on the dirt and spun creating another dust cloud. “I was very lucky no one gave me a good whack, once I stopped I found myself in a precarious position but thankfully the other drivers realised what had happened and backed off. It was disappointing to concede so many points but we are not out of it yet and with 854 points still up for grabs anything can happen.” From 27th on the grid, Lowndes battled through to finishing ninth in the second race of the weekend in ninth position and improved on that by two places in the final race of the weekend to claim twelfth overall for the round. However his 30 point lead over Kelly has now become a 73 point deficit heading to the next meeting in Bahrain. “I am pretty happy with the results I achieved today particularly the first race where I started from the back of the grid in wet conditions,” he said. “We did the best we could with the cards we were dealt from Saturday and focused on minimising the gap to Rick as much as possible. “There are still six more races before the championship is decided and I will be focusing on making sure we remain competitive throughout.”

Jamie Whincup suffered what he described as ‘the biggest hit of my career’ at Symmons Plains in an accident that left the Team Betta Electrical Bathurst winning Falcon severely damaged. Whincup took over the Bathurst winner after team-mate Craig Lowndes switched to a newly built Falcon for the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge and qualified in tenth place for the opening race on Saturday. However his weekend would soon come to an abrupt end when, having made a clean start, he was tapped from the rear into a spin that saw him make heavy contact with the wall, substantially damaging the #88 Falcon and putting him out of the rest of the weekend. “I am very disappointed,” Whincup said after Saturday’s race. “The car has some substantial structural damage and we won’t be able to fix it in time for tomorrow’s races. Advertisement [Go Advertisement Free] “I pride myself on looking after any car that I race so I am shattered at the state of our Bathurst winning car. That was without a doubt the biggest hit of my career.” While team-mate Craig Lowndes claimed two top ten finishes in races two and three, Whincup and his crew focused on preparing his old car in readiness for transportation to Bahrain for the penultimate round of the V8 Supercar Championship in ten days time. The damaged Bathurst winning chassis will be returned to the Brisbane based team’s headquarters for a complete evaluation with the severity of the damage dictating whether or not it races again this year.

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One Response to “Rick kelly grabs championship lead Symonds Plains Fallout”

  1. shane.quigg(wells) said

    rick kelly you did great man kept it up due

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