Mar 252007
 

Sunday used to be race day for the touring car circus, but these days, with the refined and fully commercial, made for television competition, Saturday and Sunday hold equal importance for fans and teams alike.

Race two saw the Triple Eight Falcons fall back through the field with tyre wear problems on the abrasive Barbagello track. The two Toll/HSV Commodores of Tander and Kelly were never seriously threatened by anyone other than each other, and the DJR Falcons of Steven Johnson and Will Davison continued to perform as DJR cars haven’t done for some seven seasons. This is a great turn up for DJR. The oldest team on Australian V8 Supercar racing was facing a very uncertain future following the end of season 2006, but the saving grace of Jim Beam sponsorship has granted DJR a reprieve at least for 2007. Continued performances like this weekend will assure the team of support for coming seasons.

Race two went pretty much the same as race one, with the Triple Eight cars loosing ground throughout the race. It seems both cars have difficulty in getting a balance between power and handling. Todd Kelly in the HRT 22 car did exceptionally well, coming from the very back of the field due to a did-not-finish yesterday, to finish P10 and well inside the points. His boss, Mark Skaife came home third in the #2 car, but the honours went to Toll/HSV. That team’s Commodores seem to be rocketships at Barbagello. A safety car period of two laps at lap 46 of 50 saw the field bunch up for a two lap sprint to the end. This helped some but not all, and in the end, nothing really changed. Race two’s finishing order was:

Pos

Car#

Team

Driver

1 16 Toll/HSV Dealer Team Garth Tander
2 1 Toll/HSV Dealer Team Rick Kelly
3 2 Holden Racing Team Mark Skaife
4 17 Dick Johnson Racing Steven Johnson
5 18 Dick Johnson Racing Will Davison
6 5 Ford Performance Racing Mark Winterbottom
7 51 Tasman Motorsport Greg Murphy
8 888 Triple Eight Racing Craig Lowndes
9 33 Garry Rogers Motorsport Lee Holdsworth
10 22 Holden Racing team Todd Kelly

UPDATE- RACE THREE

The best of the day and without doubt, the entire weekend. James Courtney’s (Stone Brother’s Racing) horror weekend continued with a suspension breakage on lap 34, bringing out the safety car for a couple of laps, which once again bunched the field for a 13 lap run to the flag. Rick Kelly in Car #1, who had second spot nailed down at that point, seemed to suffer from the slow laps behind the pace car, with grip seeming to vanish once full bore racing resumed. Mark Skaife (2) running in third almost immediately jumped on Kelly, leaving him to battle with Steven Johnson (17) over third spot. Once free of Rick Kelly’s slower Commodore, Skaife set out after Tander, the two cars running almost identical times, with Skaife shaving tenths of a second off Tander with each lap. Those last 13 laps were, by far, the most definitive of what V8 Supercars are all about. Tander was pushed and Skaife ran hard and strong, his car craft without fault, while Tander made at least one misjudgment exiting turn 6 on the penultimate lap. Skaife wasn’t quite close enough though, to make a difference and the two went to the line with just sixth-tenths of a second between them.

Several standout performances came from the lesser runners, particularly Mark Winterbottom (5) of Ford Performance Racing; Steven Johnson and Will Davison (17 & 18) for Dick Johnson Racing; and Russell Ingall (9) of Stone Brothers all put on really good shows for their teams and sponsors. Ingall particularly, coming from 24th in race 1, to 14th in race 2 and a very admirable 10th in the final race. A pleasing result for Stone Brother’s Racing on a weekend when not everything went as planned. The final washup looked like this:

Pos

Car#

Team

Driver

1 16 Toll/HSV Dealer Team Garth Tander
2 2 Holden Racing Team Mark Skaife
3 1 Toll/HSV Dealer Team Rick Kelly
4 17 Dick Johnson Racing Steven Johnson
5 5 Ford Performance Racing Mark Winterbottom
6 5 Dick Johnson Racing Will Davison
7 22 Holden Racing team Todd Kelly
8 888 Triple Eight Racing Craig Lowndes
9 33 Ford Performance Racing Steven Richards
10 22 Stone Brother’s Racing Russell Ingall

The next round heads overseas to New Zealand and a final visit to Pukekohe, 20th April. Another difficult track and one where none of the V8 Supercar circus get to test. Greg Murphy (51) has won here often, but last year wasn’t one of those times. This year is unlikely to be one either, given current performances of Tasman Motorsport. Still, stranger things have happened, and probably will again. Until 20 April, Bannerman leaves you with a points table which looks like this, after round two:

Position Driver Points
1 Rick Kelly 115
2 Garth Tander 102
3 Todd Kelly 85
4 Mark Skaife 75
5 Steven Johnson 74
6 James Courtney 61
7 Jamie Whincup 56
8 Mark Winterbottom 53
9 Will Davison 50
10 Craig Lowndes 50
11 Russell Ingall 48
12 Greg Murphy 42
13 Steven Richards 37
14 Lee Holdsworth 32
15 Jason Bright 17
16 Jason Richards 14
17 Dean Canto 8
18 Raul Radisich 6
19 Steve Owen 5
20 Max Wilson 4
21 Paul Morris 4
22 Shane Price 4
23 Cameron McConville 3
24 Jason Bargwanna 3
25 John Bowe 3
26 Fabian Coulthard 2
27 Adam Macrow 0
28 Paul Dumbrell 0
29 Andrew Jones 0
30 Brad Jones 0
31 Jack Perkins 0
32 Alan Gurr 0