Rick Kelly took a surprise win

Rick Kelly has taken his second win of the V8 Supercars season – and a shock one at that – after a late-race collision between the three leaders at this weekend’s opening race of the SkyCity Triple Crown at Darwin.

With Mark Winterbottom having led the race from pole position, the Ford Performance Racing driver pitted early during a safety car interruption and held his lead over Jamie Whincup once racing resumed.

But a late full-course caution to tend to Tim Slade’s stricken car saw the field bunch up once again, and fans were left with the thrilling prospect of a three-lap sprint to the finish.

With overtaking very difficult on the narrow Hidden Valley circuit, the restart would be crucial to the outcome of the race, and so it proved to be once again.

With the cars running four abreast down the main straight as racing got underway once again, carnage was inevitable as Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen tried to attack on another for the lead into the Turn 1 hairpin. All three made contact and fell off the circuit, which left Kelly to take an unexpected lead, having started from twelfth place on the grid.

Behind him, Lee Holdsworth briefly assumed second place, but he was quickly overcome by Steven Johnson and Craig Lowndes, who completed the podium when the chequered flag was unfurled, while Holdsworth finished in fourth place.

Will Davison finished an excellent fifth after pitting just before the first safety car interruption, and the net gain in track position saw him finish some fifteen places higher than he started the race.

Tony D’Alberto survived a collision with Jason Bright to finish a strong sixth, while van Gisbergen finished seventh after throwing away a chance at winning the race, or at least finishing on the podium. The top-ten was completed by Jason Bargwanna, Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen.

A frustrated Winterbottom finished in 15th place, having had a certain victory go begging.

And it was a poor day for the Holden Racing Team, with Garth Tander finishing 18th after a stop-go penalty for a pit lane infringement, while team-mate James Courtney’s horror title defence continued when he finished 25th and last after picking up a puncture during the race.

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V8 Supercars SkyCity Triple Crown Final Classification (Race 1 – 42 laps):

  Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 54:30.8593
2. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing + 2.5117
3. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering + 4.5271
4. Lee Holdsworth Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 5.4847
5. Will Davison Ford Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing + 6.0642
6. Tony D’Alberto Ford Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 6.4400
7. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing + 6.6429
8. Jason Bargwanna Holden Jana Living / Brad Jones Racing + 7.3032
9. Jamie Whincup Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering + 8.4525
10. Steve Owen Holden VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport + 12.8577
11. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 12.9303
12. Greg Murphy Holden Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing + 13.0004
13. Fabian Coulthard Holden Bundaberg / Walkinsaw Racing + 13.4879
14. James Moffat Ford Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing + 13.8506
15. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing + 15.6222
16. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing + 16.9969
17. Dean Fiore Ford Triple F Racing + 17.5350
18. Garth Tander Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team + 18.4046
19. Alex Davison Ford Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing + 18.7288
20. Paul Dumbrell Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash + 22.4280
21. Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 / Stone Brothers Racing + 22.8906
22. Jonathon Webb Ford Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno + 23.1649
23. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport + 24.0335
24. Warren Luff Holden Gulf Western Oil Racing / Lucas Dumbrell + 1 laps
25. James Courtney Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team + 2 laps
NOT CLASSIFIED
DNF. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing 38 laps
DNF. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing 9 laps
DNF. David Reynolds Holden Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing 9 laps

[Image via Kelly Racing; video via V8 Supercars Media]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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