Darwin Preview

Published: 27 June 2005
HSV.

Pictured: HSV.

AS the defending round winner at Hidden Valley in Darwin and arriving there this year as winner of the previous round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Shanghai, China, Todd Kelly is riding the crest of a wave – one that has carried him back into the fight for the championship.

The Holden Racing Team driver has moved back to fifth in the series and trails team boss Mark Skaife by just 10 points heading into this weekend’s sixth round of the title-chase.

With six race meetings under his belt with the team’s VZ Commodore that Kelly debuted at the Australian Grand Prix meeting, Kelly says that ‘Team Red’ has unlocked the potential in the car and helped turn the team in the right direction

“I think winning in China was a little bit of a turning point for HRT, we’ve learned a lot about my car in the last two rounds,” said Kelly, whose HRT Commodore will carry a special ’50 Round Wins’ bonnet to commemorate the team’s victory in China that racked up its half-century of round wins in the Australian Touring Car Championship/ V8 Supercar Championship Series.

“We’ve really reviewed the season so far and what we’ve done with the car, and we know it a lot better. I think with the success we had at Darwin last year we can take this new chassis there and get it right ‘out of the truck’. Once you get a little bit of momentum you’re away. It’s shaping up to be a better second half of the season.

“I’ve only had six races in the chassis I’m in now and it takes a lot to get on top of it all. We learnt a lot, especially at Eastern Creek, but also right through the year. But we’re getting on top of it now and hopefully this is our turning point.

“To win in China was huge for the team and then to be the 50th round win for HRT just topped it off.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

Garth Tander (#16 HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ – 15 th in championship)

“If you look at Rick’s (Kelly) performance there last year, he would have been on the podium if he hadn’t had a drama with the brakes. So, the team got a reasonable set-up there with last year’s cars, and Todd Kelly won there last year with the current generation chassis that we have this year. If we can mix together what we have learned with the new cars this year with their knowledge from Hidden Valley last year I think we will be reasonably strong.”

Mark Skaife (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ – 4 th in championship)

“ China was a big morale boost for all the boys to get a win under our belts, and 50 wins was extra special for all of us. As we’ve seen so often in this sport, once you get on a roll it becomes easier to find ways to win. Obviously I want to win, and I had my chances, but at this point the most important thing was for the team to remember what it feels like to win. I think they have decided they like it!”

Greg Murphy (#51 Super Cheap Auto Commodore VZ – 7 th in championship)

“Our championship position reflects the luck we’ve had so far this year; mechanical problems at a couple of rounds and driver error in Shanghai have been very costly. I’m looking forward to using the new Perkins Holden Motorsport engine at Hidden Valley, it’s a track that suits that engine. For the first time this year, Weelie and I will also have identical cars, and that can only be good for Super Cheap Auto Racing.”

Paul Weel (#50 Super Cheap Auto Commodore VZ – 12 th in championship)

“The past couple of years I’ve had some good results at Hidden Valley, so we should be on the money again this year. It’s a tight, tricky track and it’s important that you qualify well and that’s what I’m concentrating on, trying to give us the best possible start. I’ve been racing well, but qualifying has been my bugbear and we’re looking to find the answers.”

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