Champ Kelly takes race 2, overall Clipsal 500 win
V8 Supercar Champion Rick Kelly began his title defense in emphatic style in Adelaide yesterday when he won the season opener, the Clipsal 500.
The 24-year-old from Mildura made it a Kelly double when his older brother Todd came second for the round.
The Kelly brothers were too good for Ford young gun James Courtney as they gave Holden's new VE Commodore the perfect debut.
Kelly's team-mate Garth Tander scored a top 10 finish despite a drive-through penalty for a pit lane incident with Todd Kelly when departing his pit bay after his fuel stop. The incident ended team hopes for a Toll HSV one-two in the Adelaide street race in front of one of the biggest crowds in V8 Supercar history.
It was Kelly's fourth career round win, netting him 58 valuable points under the new points system. But despite the victory, his brother Todd leads the championship by 8 points - 66 points to 58 - due to the vagaries of the Clipsal points system.
An ecstatic Rick Kelly told the huge Clipsal crowd that the new #1 on the car's door and criticism by Ford fans had motivated him and the Toll HSV Dealer Team to new heights for the start of the title defense.
He said the team had "stepped it up a little" this season in its pursuit of back-to-back titles.
Kelly's win came the hard way after qualifying 15th while trying to sort teething problems with his new car on Friday.
He drove up through the field in Saturday's 250km Race 1 to finish fourth.
Starting from the second row in the second race, he took advantage of a slow start by James Courtney to shoot into second place behind Todd on the first corner.
The brothers exchanged the lead during the 78 laps, but never gave up the ascendancy.
Todd got back into the lead with a quicker pit stop for fuel, but Rick re-passed his brother when Todd had a "moment" on a corner and went wide with 11 laps to go.
From that point, Rick was never challenged as he opened up a lead over Todd and Courtney.
For Tander, the weekend ended in disappointing style in 10th place, despite great car speed for his new VE Commodore that had him running as high as third place before bad luck kicked in.
Tander was black-flagged for a pit lane infringement when he was waved away from the pit bay just as Todd Kelly approached.
The drive-through plunged him down to 13th place, but he fought back to 10th place to collect several valuable points. In all, Tander departs Adelaide with 30 points, seventh place in the championship and a determination to make up lost ground at his home track in Perth next round.
The Toll HSV, which is also chasing back-to-back Teams Championships, is in second place behind SBR, 88 to 92. HRT is in third place on 87 points.
#1 Rick Kelly (Race 1 - 4; Race 2 - 1; Round - 1; 58 pts; championship - 2nd): "I'm stoked to win here in the new car first time out. Several things have motivated us to get the job done this year. One of those things is having the No. 1 on the door. There is nothing better than having it out there on the car as you are fighting to win. We copped a little bit of grief from Ford fans, which again drove us to success this weekend. To stand on top of the podium is exactly what we are after."
Results Race 2
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 78
2. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 78
3. James Courtney Ford Falcon BF 78
4. Russell Ingall Ford Falcon BF 78
5. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon BF 78
6. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon BF 78
7. Mark Skaife Holden Commodore VE 78
8. Steven Richards Ford Falcon BF 78
9. Will Davison Ford Falcon BF 78
10. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 78
11. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon BF 78
12. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VZ 78
13. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 78
14. Jason Bright Ford Falcon BF 78
15. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VZ 78
16. Adam Macrow Ford Falcon BF 78
17. Paul Morris Holden Commodore VE 78
18. Dean Canto Holden Commodore VE 78
19. Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VZ 77
20. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE 77
21. Brad Jones Ford Falcon BF 76
22. Shane Price Holden Commodore VE 75
DNF Max Wilson Ford Falcon BF 67
DNF Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE 59
DNF Andrew Jones Ford Falcon BF 57
DNF John Bowe Ford Falcon BF 44
DNF Jason Bargwanna Ford Falcon BF 44
DNF Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon BF 42
DNF Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VZ 8
DNF Alan Gurr Ford Falcon BF 0
DNF Steve Owen Holden Commodore VZ 0