Konica: race report

Jones Wins Konica Minolta Winton Round for Second Year in a Row Team BOC's Andrew Jones has taken out the third round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series at Winton Motor Raceway today in what was an action packed day of racing. Jones ...

Konica: race report

Jones Wins Konica Minolta Winton Round for Second Year in a Row

Team BOC's Andrew Jones has taken out the third round of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series at Winton Motor Raceway today in what was an action packed day of racing.

Jones notched up the first round win for the Brad Jones Racing backed team this year adding to the team's chances of taking out the 2004 title, adding 176 points this weekend to his campaign.

The Albury-based driver took advantage of his home town track by dominating both practice sessions yesterday, taking pole position for the first race by qualifying with the fastest lap time of 1.23.2090 and winning the first of three races, placing seventh in the second and third in the final race.

Jones, who took out the same round in the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series last year, finished the round four points ahead of Super Cheap Auto Racing's Luke Youlden and Team Fujitsu's Jose Fernandez who finished in third place. It was the first ever podium finish for the Dick Johnson Racing backed Team Fujitsu driver who was rewarded for his consistent efforts over the weekend with the third spot overall for the round.

Jones did encounter some luck in the first race when leader of the race Owen Kelly, running in the number 71 Team Fujitsu Ford Falcon, and new Holden Young Lion recruit Steve Owen came together at turn ten whilst Steve Owen made an attempt to take the lead, ending any chances of finishing the race with his car sliding into a tyre wall and leaving Owen Kelly back in seventh position.

Jones capitalised on the misfortune of the two drivers, taking the lead and comfortably finishing the race in top spot 0.595 seconds ahead of nearest competitor Luke Youlden in the Super Cheap Auto Racing Ford Falcon and TKR/Hydraulink Racing's Mark Porter in the teams Holden Commodore VX.

Smiths Trucks Lee Holdworth prompted an early safety car period in the first race when he ran into the sand trap at turn four on the fifth lap, which extended the race to 16-laps.

Team Fujitsu's Owen Kelly took out the second race after starting from position 22 for the full-reverse grid race two. He encountered some of the luck that Jones saw in the first race as he was left in the lead when Speed FX Racing's Brad Tilley, Michael Olsen and Independent Race Car's Tony D'Alberto all came to grief as their cars speared off due to oil being dropped on the track.

Current Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series leader Matthew White also became a victim of the tight Winton circuit, limping his Falcon back to pit lane and wasn't able to finish the second race.

The third race started with drama when Owen Kelly, who was sitting on the front of the grid for the final race of the day, was towed back to pit lane after the Team Fujitsu Falcon encountered an overheating problem. That left Porter alone on the front of the grid and Greenfield Mowers Racings Wayne Wakefield with a clear run going into the first corner.

Porter got off to a flying start but had a broken axle on lap six ended his chances of a third race win, giving Jones an easier run at taking out the round with both Porter and Owen Kelly's cars sitting in pit lane. Wakefield, Youlden, McLean, Jones and Jose Fernandez all battled it out for the top five spots for the remainder of the race. Unfortunate engine trouble to Wakefield's car in the latter stages paved the way for Youlden to take his first race win for the year, McLean ended in second and Jones in third.

The round win for Jones pushes him up inside the top ten in the Konica Minolta championship, sliding up to sixth position.

"I said after qualifying yesterday that we wanted to win a race today and hopefully that would result in winning the round," Jones said. "The championship is wide open now, we have had three rounds with three different winners and with three rounds to go it is definitely anyone's chance."

Youlden's second position overall has also lifted to him to the top of the points table with 491 points overall, despite finishing the second race in 16th position, edging in front of White who is currently sitting on 457 points.

"No way did I think I'd be sitting here today after yesterday's debacle," Youlden said. "We broke the bead of the left front tyre in the second race and it's fantastic to get through and win race three.

"We are only half way through the series and finishing in second spot for the round which puts us on top of the leader board is a good platform to build on, especially because the three remaining circuits really suit our set-up."

Round Four of the 2004 Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series heads to Eastern Creek Raceway for the Eastern Creek festival of Speed on May 28-30.

-avesco-

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