19 May 2018
Rick Kelly has won his first race in almost seven years – and first in a Nissan – at Winton on Saturday afternoon.
Pouncing on a poor safety car restart from polesitter Scott McLaughlin, Kelly claimed the lead and held on despite pressure from Mobil 1 Boost Mobile’s Scott Pye on greener tyres.
Remarkably, Kelly – the 2006 series champion – snapped a 210-race drought with his win in Race 13 of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Series, and spoke of the emotion of securing his first win in an Altima after the race.
“I’m trying to hold it all back - it was pretty quiet on the radio, I think everyone’s pretty overwhelmed,” Kelly said.
“I knew we were in a little bit of trouble there at the restart, Scotty was pretty straight and I knew we had a lot of build-up on the tyres.
“I was hoping it wasn’t just us, sure enough it wasn’t.
“He had a big wobble through [turns] one and two, and I got enough off my tyres to sneak up the inside of him.
“I’m pretty proud of that, the Castrol rig today was obviously incredible, the guys have put so much in to get us into this situation and we got the win. I’m pretty happy.”
It was certainly a horror restart for McLaughlin, who slid from first to fifth behind Kelly, Pye, Shane Van Gisbergen and teammate Fabian Coulthard.
Defending series champion Jamie Whincup again lost touch with the series frontrunners finishing down the order in 17th place, while teammate Van Gisbergen’s superb rise from midpack to third kept his championship standing secure.
Likewise Craig Lowndes, who rose from the back of the grid to salvage points in the championship race, while David Reynolds suffered a puncture on the opening lap to dent his overall position by finishing 25th.
Race 14 of the series takes place at Winton on Sunday afternoon.
Winton Supersprint – Qualifying (Race 13). Top 10
- Rick Kelly, Castrol Racing (Nissan)
- Scott Pye, Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing (Holden)
- Shane Van Gisbergen, Red Bull Holden Racing Team (Holden)
- Fabian Coulthard, Shell V-Power Racing Team (Ford)
- Scott McLaughlin, Shell V-Power Racing Team (Ford)
- Michael Caruso, Drive Racing (Nissan)
- Tim Slade, Freightliner Racing (Holden)
- Garth Tander, Wilson Security Racing GRM (Holden)
- James Courtney, Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing (Ford)
- Mark Winterbottom, Bottle-O Racing (Ford)