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Tough day for HSV's Kelly and Tander

19/4/2005 13:36 (Press Release) - It was a "one step forward, two steps backwards" sort of day for the Holden Special Vehicles Dealer Team's Rick Kelly and Garth Tander in Race 1 of the Placemakers V8 International at Pukekohe today.

Kelly and Tander finished 17th and 18th respectively after weathering a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows through qualifying and the 36-lap race.

The day started on the right note, with Garth Tander qualifying 10th and then taking fifth place on the grid with a big performance in the Top 10 shoot-out.

But then it started going sour with the news that officials had ruled that the team infringed pit rules by working on the car under parc ferme conditions before the all-clear was given after qualifying.

The alleged infringement happened as the team rushed to change the tyres in readiness for the shootout, in which Tander had to go first just minutes after qualifying.

This technicality meant Tander was stripped of his qualifying time, sending him all the way to the back of the starting grid to 32nd position for Race 1.

Kelly started from 17th, and worked his way up through the field into the top 10. However, just as the team and Kelly were starting to think something was going right, Kelly's #15 Holden Commodore was spun in a mid-corner melee, leaving him stranded across the track as competitors rushed past. He rejoined in 19th place.

Tander also suffered a spin as he worked his way through the heavy traffic from the back of the field. In the end, he and Kelly lapped together over the last quarter of the race, gaining a few positions while concentrating on clean, fast laps.

Yesterday's race was won by Holden's Greg Murphy, from Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife.

Tomorrow, the V8 Supercars will do battle in two 140km races at Pukekohe.

#15 Rick Kelly (17th, fastest lap 56.70 sec): "We have made some improvements to the car, getting rid of the understeer. We got up to eighth or ninth, but the tyres went away fairly rapidly. At the hairpin, someone came up on the inside and hit me and spun me around, sending me back to 18th or 19th. Overall, a bad day. We will be trying to find a bit more from the car, particularly to stop the rear tyres going off."

#16 Garth Tander (18th, fastest lap 56.46 sec): "It was obviously disappointing to get that penalty. We thought that maybe being sent to the back of the top 10 would have been more appropriate, but considering it happed after qualifying, we had to start from the back. I ended up having a spin trying to get back up through the field, but then I got down to putting down some quick laps and getting a good rhythm and picking them off in the pit stops. Our pace is pretty good, and tomorrow we will be trying to get a good start and see what we can do with strategy from there."


Release Date: 16/04/2005

HSV Dealer Team