Race That Rocks HoodFriday was a very busy day for the V8 Supercars on the second of the four-day Clipsal 500 Race in Adelaide Australia. The 28-car field had six sessions, almost back to back, with 55-90 minute spans between sessions. If there was a mechanical problem or crash damage in one session, there was very little time to make it right for the next session.

The weather was warm and dry, with none of the expected rain.

The lap times dropped with each successive session, and Fords led the charts for all except the last and perhaps most important – Top Ten Shootout. There are 11 Fords and 17 Holdens. It’s always been an intense rivalry between the two manufacturers.

Next season Nissan will be joining the series, running with RICK and TODD KELLY.

Friday morning’s two half-hour practice sessions were not well attended, with only 14 cars in the first, and 15 cars in the second. The rationale seemed to be that it was better to wait until later to save tires and wear and tear on the car.

David Reynolds
David Reynolds Photo by Ron Searle
Tony D'Alberto
Tony D'Alberto Photo by Ron Searle

DAVID REYNOLDS/No.55 The Bottle-O Racing Team Ford was fastest in P1 at 1:23.0067. P2 was ninety-minutes later, and topped by TONY D’ALBERTO/No.3 Tony D’Alberto Racing Ford at 1:22.2988.

Forty minutes later P3 took place, with all 28 V8’s taking part. Frosty, aka MARK WINTERBOTTOM/No.5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford, was fastest, turning 1:21.8112.

Fifty-minutes later, the V8’s had their fourth/final Practice session, again with a full field. That was quite a testament to the teams, as there was continuing and ongoing drama with the sturdy sedan class – I call some of it carnage. More than one team could have made good use of a panel beater for a sponsor.

In P4, Frosty was again fastest, at 1:21.1303.

Mark Winterbottom
Mark Winterbottom Photo by Ron Searle

Winterbottom continued his winning ways by taking the first Qualifying race, and on Lap Ten he turned the fastest lap (1:20.8159 – the greatest margin under the record. CRAIG LOWNDES/No.888 
TeamVodafone Holden was runner-up.

Third through fifth finishers were Frosty’s teammate, WILL DAVISON/No.6 Trading Post FPR Ford, JAMIE WHINCUP/No.1 TeamVodafone Holden, and SHANE VAN GISBERGEN/No.9 SP Tools Racing Ford.

Second through fourth also ran times under the lap record.

In V8’s, there are two Rounds per weekend, and they are each a stand-alone race. Previously the grid for the second race was based on the finishing order of the first race of the weekend. Now, there is a separate Qualifying race for each Round. I guess there’s something to be said for having another go at it and trying for a better second round.

V8’s have a Qualifying Race #1, and the top ten finishers of that race run the Top Ten Shootout, which determines the starting order for the Saturday race. It’s a big deal.

Off-track, Clipsal 2002 winner, JASON BRIGHT/No.8 Team BOC Holden did well. He wrote a Spectator Guide for the official race program, entitled “Get The Most Out Of The Race” and “Track Tips.” And, he got a call from his race buddy, STEPHANE SARRAZIN, with whom he’s raced before, with a racing invite. Sarrazin is running the 12 Hours of Sebring American Le Mans race next weekend and he invited Brighty to drive with him in the No.44 Starworks HPD ARX Honda, with RYAN DALZIEL and VICENTE POTOLICCHIO. That team had the overall and Daytona Prototype pole in the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, and finished second overall and in class. But that is a conflicting date for Bright, as he’s racing in the non-championship V8 races at the Australian Grand Prix F1 race in Melbourne.

Jason Bright
Jason Bright Photo by Ron Searle

On track Brighty was having his challenges. Friday he got beached in gravel, causing a TV moment for the cameraman on that corner, who showed the volunteer Track Marshals using their hands to dig out the deeply embedded car until he could be pulled out. He also had other moments during the day with other cars and walls – some spectacular. He ran five laps in the Qualifying Race, and didn’t make the Top Ten Shootout.

Friday’s attendance was 62,700, compared to 66,200 last year and the best Friday of 73,300 in 2008.

The Clipsal 500 Adelaide event didn’t go to four days until 2003. Since then the Thursday of each event is a bye for the V8’s, who start on Fridays.