30 JUL 2017
Dramatic afternoon at Ipswich for Nissan
Nissan Motorsport has narrowly missed out on finishing every session of the Ipswich SuperSprint inside the Top 10, following a dramatic day of action at Queensland Raceway.
Todd Kelly led home the Nissan squad by finished 12th at the end of this afternoon's 200km race. The #7 carsales Racing entry was the highest qualifying Nissan on the grid and looked set for a Top 10 result. However, a late race safety car put paid to that, bunching the field with ten laps to go. Electing to remain on the older rubber, Kelly battled his way to the flag and just outside the Top 10.
Like his brother, Rick Kelly finished in the same position as he started. But, also like his brother, his race was not that straightforward. Kelly had finished inside the Top 8 of every session before this afternoon's difficult qualifying. After spending much of the race battling in the mid-pack, the team elected to make a pit stop during the late race safety car period. Now on fresher rubber, Kelly charged from 17th to finish in 13th.
Simona De Silvestro demonstrated excellent race craft to battle her way to 19th at the end of today's event. After qualifying in 27th, the #78 Team Harvey Norman driver was another to roll the dice with an additional late race tyre stop. De Silvestro made some gusty moves on the fresher rubber to finish inside the Top 20.
Michael Caruso had an early end to his afternoon following contact with Jack Le Brocq on lap 20 of the 65 lap event. The incident resulted in suspension damage at the rear on the #23 Nissan NISMO entry and forced him into the garage. The crew worked hard to send Caruso back out, but he had lost too many laps to be classified and was forced back to the pits to retire.
The team's attention now moves to the next round of the Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park. This circuit was the venue for February's pre-season test where Rick Kelly's Altima claimed the fastest time.
Todd Kelly - #7 carsales Racing
"It was really good at stages throughout the race. I thought we were on for a bit of a result given we were able to catch and pass other cars around us. People started to pit early in each stint, which dictated what we had to do to avoid being gobbled up. That made the last stint pretty tough. Had the last safety car not come out, we should have finished 9th. Instead, he got pummeled a bit there and finished where we did."
Rick Kelly - #15 Sengled Racing
"We were locked in where we were at the end of the race. You work the tyre a lot when you have to pass people, so by the time I got to Todd in the last part of the race, the tyres were starting to level out with those guys. We rolled the dice with set-up too, and the car was a little less comfortable than we would have liked. We'll take that knowledge and apply it at the next event."
Simona De Silvestro - #78 Team Harvey Norman
"We had a better day today and passed a lot of people on the track. The car felt really good and I had a lot of fun towards the end of the race. We learned a lot, and at least we're racing now. It will be handy going to Sydney Motorsport Park again. It means I don't need to dedicate time to learning a new track since we tested there at the start of the year. So we'll move onto the next race and show what we've got."
Michael Caruso - #23 Nissan NISMO
"We had a qualifying result which put us towards the back and we knew it was going to be tough to get out of that. We pitted for new tyres and moved up inside Jack at turn two. Unfortunately, the front of his car and my rear made contact, and it's taken us both out. We didn't get to show the potential of our car, which was feeling quite good. Now we'll move onto the next race. It'll be good to get back to SMP after what the team was able to do in pre-season testing."