Yet again, the Seven Network has badly let down motorsport enthusiasts with a pathetically short coverage of qualifying and race one of round five.
Ninety minutes to cover all of the sport’s latest developments, qualifying and race one of a three race weekend. Of course, the mens aerial ballet recital was allocated three full hours, with a ‘C’ grade Roddy McDowell flick on before that. Surely, given that qualifying ran between 10:00am and 11:00am, we could have forgone the movie and come to race one after the boys bouncing bout? Remember, this is the network which promised fans equality with those handicapped by the handball watching habit. I knew it wouldn’t last.
So, we were presented with a five minute synopsis of qualifying. The only high-point of which has to be the failure of HRT to come to terms with a cold Sandown in sprint format. Sandown is a high-speed track which is severe on brakes and suspension through the back straight exit and corners leading back onto the front straight. The qualifying results speak volumes for those who have and haven’t come to terms with the tracks demands.
Rick Kelly, Fabian Coulthard (wonderful name that), Russell Ingall and even Jason Richards in the top ten. Tander, Skaife and Van Gisbergen out of it. Goes to show just how challenging, deceptively so, Sandown can be.
There was the usual opening laps lack of attention to detail in the mid-field, but in general, race one was well run by the majority. Rick Kelly pulled off a magnificent save coming off the back straight. At 260 klicks he found became a little unstable under brakes, managing to fishtail then loop the car into the esses, recover it in the straight ahead mode and power on, dropping three positions but still in one piece. A magnificent exhibition of the skill and awareness it takes to pilot one-and-a-half tonne of high speed race car.
Tomorrow’s telecast is as it should be, considering we only get to see the cars every three to four weeks. Four-and-a-half hours, not counting the copious commercials, of news, views, pace and thrills. From 1:00pm AEST, in front of the ‘puter is where I’ll be.