Rick Kelly has broken a near-three-year winless streak in the V8 Supercars Championship with a very impressive drive in the first race of this weekend’s Hamilton ITM400 event, the third round of the 2011 season.Rick Kelly won the opening race of this year's ITM400 at Hamilton

The Jack Daniel’s Racing driver managed to keep it together in slippery conditions, and held on in a close fight with Craig Lowndes to vault to fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

And it was a triple celebration for the 2006 V8 champion, who announced his engagement to his partner Elysia this weekend, and was joined on the podium by his older brother and team-mate Todd.

And while Kelly enjoyed his moment in the sun, the current championship leader Jamie Whincup had a torrid opening race. After a planned pit stop, he lost control of his car exiting the pits and slapped the wall, damaging a steering arm and losing three laps having it repaired in the pits.

A 23rd placed finish was scant reward, and it saw the Team Vodafone driver’s lead over FPR rival Mark Winterbottom (who finished fourth today) trimmed from 144 points to 60.

A particularly slippery pit lane caught out many drivers, and the race featured a few mishaps such as overshooting pit garages, running over pit crew members, and spins at pit entry for Shane van Gisbergen and Lee Holdsworth.

After a rubbish qualifying session, James Courtney finished a very smart fifth on the road, followed by Steven Johnson, Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard and Greg Murphy, while rookie driver James Moffat finished a career-best tenth.

However, Courtney was later issued with a post-race time penalty for starting from the wrong grid slot, which resulted in an additional ten seconds being added to his finishing time. This dropped him to eleventh place.

Tomorrow the V8 Supercars action will return, with another 20-minute qualifying session and a 200km race around the streets of Hamilton.


V8 Supercars ITM400 Final Classification (Race 1 – 59 laps):

Driver Team Result
1. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s Racing 1:38:27.0660
2. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone + 1.3133
3. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s Racing + 7.9251
4. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel FPR + 8.4717
5. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing + 15.4377
6. Will Davison Ford Trading Post FPR + 17.2287
7. Fabian Coulthard Holden Bundaberg Racing + 18.4584
8. Greg Murphy Holden Pepsi Max Crew + 19.2005
9. James Moffat Ford Jim Beam Racing + 20.9368
10. Alex Davison Ford Irwin Racing + 23.5680
11. James Courtney* Holden TOLL Holden Racing Team + 24.0110
12. Tony D’Alberto Ford Wilson Security Racing + 32.0370
13. Jason Bargwanna Holden Jana Living Racing + 1:26.4769
14. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto Racing 1 lap behind
15. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing GRM 1 lap behind
16. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tool Racing FPR 1 lap behind
17. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing 1 lap behind
18. Garth Tander Holden TOLL Holden Racing Team 1 lap behind
19. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC 1 lap behind
20. Steve Owen Holden VIP Petfoods 1 lap behind
21. Dean Fiore Ford Triple F Racing 2 laps behind
22. Lee Holdsworth Holden Fujitsu Racing GRM 2 laps behind
23. Jamie Whincup Holden Team Vodafone 3 laps behind
24. David Reynolds Holden Stratco Racing 7 laps behind
DNF Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 Racing 26 laps
DNF Jonathon Webb Ford Mother Energy Racing Team 22 laps
DNF Warren Luff Holden Gulf Western Oil Racing 14 laps
DNS Paul Dumbrell Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team Withdrew

* Stewards’ Decisions:

  • Lee Holdsworth claimed immunity from a detection of shortcutting at Turn 4. This was investigated post Race and was not substantiated. The Stewards deducted 25 Championship points from him as a penalty.
  • Following an investigation and an admission by Michael Caruso that he drove in a careless manner (contact on David Reynolds), the Stewards deducted 25 Championship Points from Michael Caruso.
  • Following an investigation and an admission by James Courtney that he did not start from his correct grid position, the Stewards added 10 seconds to the Race time for Courtney for a false start.
  • [Original image via Kelly Racing]

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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.