Kelly keen to extend V8 lead in Darwin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kelly keen to extend V8 lead in Darwin

By Cameron Tomarchio 21/06/2007 05:05:59 PM Comments (0)

Mark Skaife stole the headlines with his record-breaking win at Eastern Creek but it was defending V8 Supercar champion Rick Kelly who surged ahead in the standings in his usual consistent, no fuss fashion.

The 24-year-old Holden driver arrives at Hidden Valley, Darwin for round six of the series this weekend having finished no lower than fourth in any of the 14 races this season.

Kelly's 12 podiums - including two firsts, three seconds and seven thirds - have seen him open up a handy 25-point gap on his Toll HSV Dealer team-mate Garth Tander, despite Tander winning half of the races.

Twice this season, Tander's clutch has fried on the start - in race three at Pukekohe where he finished eighth and in race two at Eastern Creek less than two weeks ago where he fought from last to 15th.

Kelly has had no such dramas.

"There's no secret really, it's just staying out of trouble," Kelly said.

"I'm not sure exactly what's happened with Garth's clutch.

Obviously there's been a short amount of time between Eastern Creek and Darwin so we haven't had a chance to sit down and work it out but Garth's an extremely good driver so I'm not too sure he'd be contributing to the problem at all.

"It is a little bit of a concern, obviously, with so much horsepower under our bonnets it puts a lot of pressure on the clutch to get them off the line in a good time.

"It's bound to happen now and then and unfortunately it's bitten Garth a couple of times. Hopefully it doesn't bite again."

The gap between the Eastern Creek and Hidden Valley rounds is only 11 days, which is demanding on the teams accustomed to a three or four week buffer.

"It's a good thing. It puts a bit of a challenge up for our guys because the races are so close together," said Kelly.

"We only have two or three days to prep the cars. Obviously the trip to Darwin is a long one for the truck drivers so it puts a little bit of pressure on us.

"That's what the championship is all about. It's not just about racing on the track, it's about prepping the cars in the time you've got beforehand."

Temperatures in Darwin are expected to range from 29-31C with clear skies, which Kelly says is a welcome change from wet and miserable rounds in Eastern Creek and Winton before that.

The round begins with practice on Friday, before qualifying and the first 42-lap race on Saturday. Two more 42-lap races close out the round on Sunday.

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