Sunday, 4 March 2007 – Adelaide Street Circuit.
Reader, 2007 is going to be the best season for V8 Supercar racing this country has ever seen. The parity issues of past seasons are clearly resolved as Ford and Holden camps both pumped the very best out of cars, teams and drivers onto the Adelaide Grand Prix circuit. The last ten laps of this afternoon’s race was the hardest, fastest and most telling Bannerman has watched in many a moon. Not only were the cars quick, but the devastating speed and style of Rick Kelly in the #1 Toll/HSV VE Commodore was quite simply the order of the day.
The second to Rick’s brother Todd for HRT and third to James Courtney of SBR are ominous signs for a long season ahead. HRT remain Bannerman’s pick for 2007, but Rick Kelly’s driving style and the virtually indestructible Toll/HSV machinery really look the goods. Time will tell if consistency carries through, but just watching the differences in style between the two brothers Kelly this arvo, Bannerman is strongly of the opinion that consistency not withstanding, Rick Kelly looks like making it two in a row. He drives like Peter Brock used to in his hey-day. He carries the car and wrings it’s neck at the same time. His skill with the machine is remarkable and a delight to watch.
Mind you, nothing is taken away from the other top ten position holders from today. Rick’s brother, Todd took the honours for the first round of this years championship based on the combination of yesterday’s and today’s finishing positions. Todd took second place today, followed closely…..so very closely, by Stone Brothers recruit James Courtney, followed a gnat’s whisker off the back bumper by team mate Russell Ingall. There are apparently no team orders in the Stone Brothers camp and judging by some of the radio chatter which made it’s way into the Seven Network telecast, there are issues between Ingall & Courtney. Fifth place was Jamie Whincup of Triple Eight, then Steven Johnson for DJR. The latter being a real surprise, as Bannerman rated the team as a non-event this year. Perhaps they’ve finally come to terms with the BF Falcon package. In seventh, Mark Skaife, then Steven Richards for FPR and Will Davison for…….Bannerman is stunned, DJR?!!! It’s way past time, Dick, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Bannerman wishes you all the very, very best for 2007. The ten are rounded off by Garth Tander, Rick Kelly’s team mate. Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight’s lead driver, came through at 11th, after which followed the rest of the herd which includes Greg Murphy who DNF’d; Lee Holdsworth of Gary Rogers Motorsport – something of a mighty effort; Jason Richards, Jason Bright and Cameron McConville. The full list may be found at V8 Supercars.
As Bannerman says, 2007 season is going to be a real cracker and something of a dogfight from flag-fall to flag-fall. Stay tuned. Next stop – Barbagallo Raceway, March 23-25.