05 MAR 2017
Kelly secures Top 10 result
Nissan Motorsport's Todd Kelly cracked the top-ten on the streets of Adelaide Parklands, as the second leg of the Clipsal 500 provided the ultimate challenge for the Virgin Australia Supercars field.
Starting from 16th position, the carsales Altima ran long on the opening stint of the race before stopping on lap 23.
Pitting from the lead for his second service, Kelly then battled hard with Garth Tander, before getting the upper hand and finishing ninth.
Rick Kelly aboard the Sengled Altima had a tougher run today, after qualifying 19th for the 250km race.
Running an alternate strategy, Kelly was the first car to complete his opening stop, a strategy mirrored by other competitors, meaning the younger Kelly brother was mired in traffic throughout the 78 lap distance. At the chequered flag he was classified 17th.
Michael Caruso in the Nismo Nissan Altima was looking good for a top-ten finish until a late race puncture.
Starting from 12th position, Caruso was strong throughout, but almost an entire lap limping back to the pits relegated the number 23 machine to 22nd on the results sheet.
Simona De Silvestro rounded out a learning weekend aboard the Harvey Norman Nissan with a 23rd place finish.
Showing improved pace throughout the second leg, De Silvestro was tipped into a spin while looking to pit for the second time by James Courtney.
Later in the race, a pit lane penalty for kerb hopping prevented the rookie from finishing further up the order.
After the first of 14 scheduled events, Rick Kelly sits 9th in the point standings, Caruso is 16th, Todd Kelly holds down 21st, while Simon De Silvestro is currently 22nd.
Nissan Motorsport will next be seen in action on the streets of Albert Park alongside the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix on March 23-26.
TODD KELLY QUOTES
"I'm happy to finish 9th, but to be honest, when I got out of the car I was a bit annoyed. The car was really fast, to pass a few cars like that is a sign that we had the thing hooked up. If we had qualified better it shows we had the speed to finish higher than 9th. But we finished 9th and we'll take that. It's quite promising to have a pacey race car at the end there."
RICK KELLY QUOTES
"It was a tough day that started in qualifying. Everything has to go your way these days to be right at the front. Unfortunately on both sets of tyres in qualifying, we didn't get it together basically. We started a little bit further back, we decided to have a bit of a crack with the strategy to try and get some clear running, and unfortunately a few others had the same idea. We're leaving the Clipsal event with a straight car, we're in the top-ten in points, we learned a lot from it I think, and I can't wait to get to the next one."
MICHAEL CARUSO QUOTES
"We got within 6 laps from the end while running ninth. It was good progress from starting in 12th. The car was a lot better than it has been all weekend, so to make that kind of progress and then literally explode the tyre is disappointing. But that's the tough side of motor racing. Hopefully, we can get these issues out of the way early. A positive for us to take away is that we found a good direction. Knowing that we finished with some good pace is a sign we're on the right path."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO QUOTES
"Today I felt we had pretty good pace. I messed up the start and then getting taken out basically put an end to our progress. We can be happy with the pace we showed by the end of the weekend. The biggest thing is that if we qualify a bit higher up, then we know we'll be able to run there. I really liked the track and it reminded me of the tracks I used to drive in Indycar. I felt really welcomed this weekend by the fans and also the other drivers. You need to earn your stripes and prove that you belong. I think that's going to take a bit of time, so that's another reason we need to qualify further up the front."