14 APR 2019
Rick Kelly holds on for strong eighth at Phillip Island
Rick Kelly has held off a hungry pack of drivers to finish eighth in Race 10 of the Supercars Championship at Phillip Island today.
The Castrol Racing star qualified 11th and enjoyed a strong start to the race during the first two stints. Tyre life did not work in his favour during the last stint, but Rick was able to hold off a pack of drivers including Tim Slade, Nick Percat and David Reynolds over the final few intense laps.
Andre Heimgartner could not replicate his stunning podium result from yesterday, finishing 13th.
The Plus Fitness Racing driver qualified 13th and battled with car speed across the 200km journey. Despite his struggles, he has moved up to 14th place in the championship with only small margins to those ahead.
Team Harvey Norman's Simona De Silvestro qualified down in 23rd but made her way up to 18th place.
RABBLE.Club rookie racer Garry Jacobson was pleased with 19th after showing some strong pace late in the race.
The next event of the Supercars Championship will be held at Barbagallo Raceway for the Perth SuperNight event, held under lights at the West Australian circuit on May 2-4.
#15 Castrol Racing
"Holding off those guys was a huge challenge and I honestly thought we had no hope, but I was dealing with very fair race drivers," said Rick Kelly.
"They hit me in a few places, but it was all fair. We managed to maintain eighth and stoked to be racing against guys who don't punt you out of the way. I'm sure they were frustrated, but for us, it was an exciting challenge and we snuck through.
"The first stint and the second stint made our race day. For some reason, the tyre didn't come alive at all on the third set, and that was the bulk of the race. We had a good bit of clear track and I had to be really careful on the brake and throttle to try and maintain what we had.
"With the balance we had, eighth is probably as good as we could get.
"I'm disappointed that the pit stop and the gear sensor yesterday cost us a good spot, but all in all, it's a massive step from where we have been the last few weekends. We have time to look at what we have achieved and build on it for Perth."
#7 Plus Fitness
"It was a difficult day. We didn't get qualifying right, and we didn't have the car to move forward in the race," said Andre Heimgartner.
"It was frustrating not having the speed, especially after yesterday's podium, but hopefully we'll be able to get the speed back for Perth.
"I'm really looking forward to the night race over in West Australia. It will be really cool."
Simona De Silvestro
#78 Team Harvey Norman
"We seemed to be OK during practice. We were only two tenths off Rick, which is where we should be," said Simona De Silvestro.
"We changed the car for qualifying and we went backwards. The race was long and frustrating. It was difficult.
"We pulled back a couple of spots, but now we look forward to Perth. I've had some of my best qualifying there. It's a track that actually really suits me. I enjoy it so I'm really looking forward to that."
"I'm really stoked. It's the first time in a while where I could race hard and not worry about locking up front tyres," said Garry Jacobson.
"We tried a couple of different things in today's race and it rewarded me with some confidence for a long stint. It's the most competitive that I've been – running top 10 pace in the last 20 or so laps.
"For the team, they are getting podiums which great, but really, I'm happy with being 19th and I can build on that.
"Going to Perth, I will have the confidence to push harder. Hopefully with the new surface, I think it might suit me as well with less tyre degradation and I'll be able to race harder for longer."