Konica: Clipsal race notes

Team Fujitsu Notch Up Its First Round Win Dick Johnson Racing's Team Fujitsu has taken out its first round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar season, with driver Owen Kelly winning both races at the Clipsal 500 event at Adelaide. Kelly took ...

Konica: Clipsal race notes

Team Fujitsu Notch Up Its First Round Win

Dick Johnson Racing's Team Fujitsu has taken out its first round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar season, with driver Owen Kelly winning both races at the Clipsal 500 event at Adelaide.

Kelly took out the first of two races last night, finishing ahead of Team BOC Andrew Jones and Gulf Western Oil/Jayco driver Matthew White.

The first race was extended to 28-laps after the WPS Safety Car was deployed for four laps when three cars came to grief on the first lap. Independent Race Cars' Tony D'Alberto, Paul Cruickshank Racing's Kevin Mundy and South Australian based Konica Minolta team Rupprecht Motorsport's number 90 car driven by Phil Scifleet, all collided going into turn nine.

Scifleet was able to return to the field in the latter stages of the race but both D'Alberto and Mundy's cars had significant damage as a result of the incident and were unable to compete in the remainder of the race.

A separate incident also brought an end to the weekend for Konica Minolta Round One winner Alan Gurr when his Smiths Trucks Commodore slammed into a concrete wall on turn eight. The crash continued the bad luck for Smiths Trucks, with the team's second car driven by Lee Holdsworth stopping as a result of its involvement with the three-car pile up on lap one.

Other casualties of the first race on the tight Adelaide Street Circuit included Speed FX Racing's Brad Tilley, Holden Young Lions Kurt Wimmer, Wastecorp's Dean Wanless and Peters Motorsport's Michael Olsen.

Kelly's win in the first race took its toll on the 27-year-old, when he finished the race with bad dehydration as a result of a recent dose of the flu in addition to not being able to retrieve fluids through his drink bottle throughout the duration of the race.

"Basically I am not sure how much not being able to use the drink bottle had an effect on yesterday's race," Kelly said. "I have had the flu all week and I just didn't realise how much it actually saps the energy out of you."

Kelly's weekend was close to ending in similar fashion to last year's event, when he qualified in pole position for the race but mechanical problems ended his Clipsal campaign early in the race allowing 2003 Konica Champion Mark Winterbottom take out the round.

"We had about 15 laps to go and the car seemed to drop a cylinder and I thought it was going to happen all over again. The car literally stopped over the finish line today."

White finished in overall second position for the weekend, pushing his way to the top of the championship points table after he finished the second race in position two, just 2.14 seconds behind Kelly.

"That is what this year is all about," White explained. "We have got a good package together for this season and the Falcon has been faultless every time we get out on the track, so we are absolutely delighted."

Experienced V8 Supercar driver Cameron McLean claimed his first podium finish since the 1999 Privateers Cup and the first for Howard Racing, helping his chances as a championship contender in the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series this year.

"We made a couple of mistakes at Wakefield Park at the first round, but we have come back today and got some good series points," McLean said. "The guys at Howard Racing have done a great job in getting ready for the race today. It has really come a long way since Thursday when it was virtually un-drivable around the track."

Race One second place getter Andrew Jones couldn't manage a podium position for the round, his BOC sponsored Ford Falcon came into the pits mid-way through the race with fluid leaking from the rear of the car - ending any chances for the team to finish in the top three.

The third round of the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series heads to Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla for the third round on April 17-18.

-avesco-

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