V8 Supercars – Kelly Racing Skycity Triple Crown Darwin Preview

June 15, 2011

V8 Supercars

Pepsi Max Crew driver Greg Murphy is a former race winner at Hidden Valley Raceway, taking out Race 2 at the ‘Top End’ event back in 2001

– Murphy is coming to grips with his #11 Pepsi Max Commodore, now 16th in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship points standings after 11 races, with strong pace shown at the previous event at Winton

– David Reynolds will make his second V8 Supercars Championship start at Hidden Valley this weekend, with best qualifying of 16th and best race finish of 18th place on debut in Darwin in 2009

– Todd Kelly was the overall round winner of the Hidden Valley event in both 2004 and 2005, winning two races in the 2004 event and one in 2005

Rick Kelly has a race win at Hidden Valley, winning Race 2 in 2005. He also scored a pole position in Darwin, topping qualifying at the 2.87-kilometre circuit in 2007

– Todd Kelly has qualified second in the grid in Darwin on three occasions and was in the top five in both qualifying sessions in his #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore in both 2009 and 2010

– The soft-compound Dunlop ‘option’ tyre will return to ‘Wildcard’ status at the SKYCITY Triple Crown in Darwin. Previous events at Abu Dhabi, Hamilton and Winton were conducted solely on the soft tyre, while Perth’s format saw soft tyres used in both races on Sunday. Darwin is the first event of the season where teams are permitted to run just one set of soft tyres during the Sunday race

– The Darwin event gets its name from the event format that sees drivers try to win Saturday’s Top 10 Shootout and both the Saturday and Sunday race to complete the ‘Triple Crown’. Since the first event at Hidden Valley in 1998 no driver has completed the Triple Crown, which until 2009 was set across the event’s three races


DAVID REYNOLDS – #16 Stratco Holden Commodore:

“Running on the hard tyre for most of the weekend should suit both me and our Stratco Commodore,” said David Reynolds.

“My driving style seems to suit the hard tyre more. Funnily enough, in 2009 it used to suit the soft tyre better. But I’ve changed my driving style and the cars have changed a bit since then, so that’s just a case of things evolving.

“Hopefully we have a good weekend in Darwin. We’re going to concentrate on our hard tyre pace and just use the softs on Sunday for that short burst you need to get track position.

“I really enjoy Darwin. It’s one of my favourite rounds. It has good weather, good people, everyone is quite relaxed up there and the track up there is really good.

“Hidden Valley is quite a tricky track. It only has a small number of corners but it’s hard to get them all right on one lap one after another.

“We haven’t run the hard tyre for a while so it will be interesting to see how the order shakes out.

“I’m getting more experienced and starting to understand more and more of what the car needs. I understand my race engineer James (Small) a bit more and he understands me a bit more. We are gelling a lot better with every session.

“We had really good pace over one lap at Winton and qualified in the top 10 in both races, but we just had a bad run in the races. It was probably a combination of a bit of driver, a bit of car set-up that killed the soft tyres. But we learn from that and move on. We don’t have to worry about that too much in Darwin as it’s back to the hard tyre.

“It’s hard to follow when you are out there racing who is on what tyre at what time. That Sunday race with soft and hard tyres really brings the team into it a lot. They have to coach the driver through the race, tell them who is on what tyre, how hard to push and of course when to pit.

“For the driver you just listen to the team and get as much out of the car as you can. If you’ve got a speedy car and you qualify well you can be in for a good day. Qualifying in Darwin is pretty important given it’s hard to pass on this track.”

GREG MURPHY – #11 Pepsi Max Holden Commodore:

“Running on the hard tyre again and throwing just one set of the soft tyre into the mix will definitely stir things up a bit,” said Greg Murphy.

“We are back on the hard tyre in Darwin and it’s been a while since we’ve been on that tyre for the majority of a weekend.

“The Sunday race is a bit of a lottery. You really have to hope things fall your way on the strategy in races with just one set of softs.

“As a team we are hoping that all the hard work the team has been doing in going to pay off.

“We are really aiming for consistency. My #11 Pepsi Max Commodore has had potential but we really need to put a whole weekend together.

“We have had some good things going on but we need to finish it off. Whether it’s me in qualifying or other little issues that have hampered us, we just need to take that extra step.

“There has been just one little thing at each event that we need to improve, so I’m keen to get through a weekend without a drama.

“If we can do that it should mean a great result. We’ve got good potential. Converting on that potential with no mistakes is how you win races.

“So we are working hard towards no mistakes, because our Pepsi Max Crew car has been getting there. We just need to finish the job.”

TODD KELLY – #7 Jack Daniel’s Holden Commodore:

On previous event wins at Hidden Valley in 2004 and 2005 …

“I’ve got a lot of good memories of Darwin,” said Todd Kelly.

“Unfortunately a lot of things have changed since I won there. The cars are a lot different, the tyres are a lot different and that really means my wins don’t count for much when we arrive there.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the track there and getting up to Darwin. It’s a nice place and its’ good to get out of Melbourne and into some warm weather

“I’ve been looking forwards to Darwin for quite a while. It’s a track I love and I’m pretty determined to get some good results.”

On putting poor rounds at Perth and Winton behind him …

“We’ve really learned a lot from the last two rounds,” said Todd Kelly.

“We had a good round at Hamilton but since then we’ve had two bad rounds. Hamilton was too long ago to still be riding on that. We’re not too happy with how we performed at Perth and Winton.

“So it is very important for us to try to turn that around. We’ve put a lot of time into working out what we did wrong at those last two events and we’ve got things in place that should help everyone, me in particular, in Darwin and for the rest of the year.

“There are a few areas where I have struggled with the car where as the other drivers in the team have been able to find there own ways to get around those problems while still suiting their driving style, improving their pace and making them more comfortable in the car.

“That just hadn’t clicked for me at Perth and Winton. Brendan (Hogan), my race engineer, has picked up on a couple of things that have affected me at the last few rounds with how we set-up our Jack Daniel’s Commodore.

“If we can get that worked out and if it all falls into place as planned in Darwin we should have a good weekend.

“It’s very competitive between our four drivers and I’ve not been at the front of the pack in terms of our team at the last two rounds. That is really what pushes us all as a team, trying to beat each other first and foremost.

“So I’ve really put in a lot of effort to get in front of the other three guys. If it pans out, we I should be somewhere near the front.”

On using hard compound tyres with just one set of softs in Darwin …

“We generally go better on the hard tyre compared to the soft,” said Todd Kelly.

“There is a lot of work to be done on our cars and our team to get a proper handle on what we need to do on that soft tyre.

“In Darwin the majority of the weekend is on the hard tyre, where we should be OK. We get another opportunity to try and learn exactly what we need to do on the softs and if we don’t quite get that right there is still a lot of potential for us to have a good weekend.

“There is a good chance that we can hopefully start to chip away at what that tyre needs.”

RICK KELLY – #15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Holden Commodore:

“Darwin is a fantastic event and it’s nice to go there in the middle of winter down here in Victoria,” said Rick Kelly.

“Our last event was at Winton, which was cold and wet. We then go to Darwin with completely different weather. The hot conditions will treat the tyre differently so we need to adjust.

“For this event we have put a lot of focus back into having both the soft and hard tyre in one race meeting. It requires a different plan.

“V8 Supercars is a very tough category and the soft tyre has really thrown a massive unknown into the mix.

“It’s helped some drivers and teams and hurt other drivers and teams and Todd has been right in the middle of that pain.

“He was taken out through no fault of his own in both races at Winton. That’s a bit hard to cop because he has shown such good form all through this year.

“For us we are looking forward to getting more consistency in Darwin with my number 15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, but in Darwin Todd will be as big a threat as anyone.

“He is pretty frustrated and angry with the results he’s had this year. The bad results are mainly because of people crashing into him.

“In Darwin he will be a tough one to beat. He’s got great form up there and has won the event twice. It’s a track that suits him.

“If anyone knows how his form is, it’s us. We look at his data every single day and he’s as strong as any driver in our team and at times he’s the strongest and I can’t keep up with him.

“At Darwin he has smoked me a couple of years in a row up there and he will be tough to beat up there. We always tend to jump to his set-up at Hidden Valley and he has been traditionally very fast up there.”

2011 V8 Supercars Championship
Drivers Points Standings after Race 11 of 28

1. Jamie Whincup 1234
2. Craig Lowndes 972
3. Garth Tander 935
4. Jason Bright 920
5. Shane Van Gisbergen 913
6. Rick Kelly 887
7. Alex Davison 825
8. Will Davison 813
9. Steven Johnson 808
10. Mark Winterbottom 797
16. Greg Murphy 527
18. David Reynolds 522

21. Todd Kelly 460

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