Rick Kelly overcame torrential rain to claim his first race win since 2008 in the V8 Supercars Championship opener at the ITM400 Hamilton in New Zealand.
But the Jack Daniel Racing Team driver very nearly didn't finish the race when a mad scramble to reach pit lane as the rain hit, almost saw him lose control on entry.
“I'm stoked,” said Kelly. “The whole team deserves this. And we got the old girl up front. It won in the wet at Symmons Plains with Todd driving in 2008.
“It's a great way to win our first race for Kelly Racing with trying conditions and different pit strategies and wet and dry conditions.”
Another poor start by championship leader, Jamie Whincup allowed Kelly to get the jump on the pole-sitter. And it was all downhill after that for the two-time champion who had won the previous four races here. Exiting the pits on cold slick tyres the Team Vodafone driver hit the wall, losing three laps for repairs to a damaged steering arm. He eventually finished 23rd.
The heavy rain began to fall on lap 22, and the slippery conditions on the concrete in pit lane saw several drivers overshooting their pit. Mark Winterbottom took control of the race, but with the Ford Performance Racing driver having to pit for fuel late in the race, Kelly took back the lead.
With a late safety car deployed, Kelly's 11-second lead was cut. And with just five laps to go at the restart, a charging Craig Lowndes in the Team Vodafone car passed Rick’s brother, Todd, for second. Todd Kelly finished third, meaning both the Jack Daniel Racing cars finished on the podium.
This was Rick Kelly's 10th race victory and his first for Jack Daniel Racing and the Kelly Racing team which he owns with his brother.
Reigning series champion James Courtney, who had started from 22nd after crashing in qualifying, finished a commendable fifth behind Winterbottom, but a post-race time penalty of 10 seconds for starting in the incorrect grid position dropped him to 11th.
Rounding out the top 10 was front-row starter Steve Johnson of Jim Beam Racing in sixth, Trading Post FPR's Will Davison, Bundaberg Racing's Fabian Coulthard, Pepsi Max Crew's Greg Murphy and rookie James Moffat in the second Jim Beam Ford.
Cars weren’t the only casualties on the day with a cameraman and Garth Tander’s chief mechanic both being hit by vehicles in pit lane. Fortunately, neither was seriously injured.
Race 5 results:
|Pos||Entrant||Driver||Vehicle||Fastest Lap||Fastest Lap Time||Race Time||Laps||Points|
|1||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Commodore VE2||8||01:24:0836||01:38:27:0660||59||150|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Commodore VE2||8||01:23:8156||01:38:28:3793||59||138|
|3||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Commodore VE2||10||01:24:2384||01:38:34:9911||59||129|
|4||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom||Falcon FG||11||01:23:8590||01:38:35:5377||59||120|
|5||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Falcon FG||8||01:24:1590||01:38:42:5037||59||111|
|6||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison||Falcon FG||12||01:24:3320||01:38:44:2947||59||102|
|7||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Commodore VE2||10||01:24:8208||01:38:45:5244||59||96|
|8||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Commodore VE2||12||01:24:5788||01:38:46:2665||59||90|
|9||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat||Falcon FG||12||01:24:8601||01:38:48:0028||59||84|
|10||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison||Falcon FG||10||01:24:6791||01:38:50:6340||59||78|
|11||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Commodore VE2||12||01:24:4759||01:38:51:0770||59||72|
|12||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Falcon FG||12||01:24:7663||01:38:59:1030||59||69|
|13||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna||Commodore VE2||11||01:24:8060||01:39:53:5429||59||66|
|14||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Commodore VE2||7||01:25:1038||01:38:38:9748||58||63|
|15||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Commodore VE2||10||01:23:8002||01:38:42:0123||58||60|
|16||SP Tools Racing||Shane van Gisbergen||Falcon FG||12||01:24:1117||01:38:47:2927||58||57|
|17||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Commodore VE2||9||01:25:1196||01:38:48:1784||58||54|
|18||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Commodore VE2||12||01:23:9442||01:38:49:8200||58||51|
|19||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Commodore VE2||9||01:24:0088||01:38:51:0034||58||48|
|20||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Commodore VE2||10||01:25:0154||01:38:53:4746||58||45|
|21||Triple F Racing||Dean Fiore||Falcon FG||12||01:24:8431||01:38:49:0037||57||42|
|22||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth||Commodore VE2||9||01:24:0525||01:39:09:6277||57||39|
|23||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Commodore VE2||8||01:23:8225||01:38:55:2733||56||36|
|24||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds||Commodore VE2||8||01:24:8212||01:39:03:2430||52||33|
|DNF||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Falcon FG||12||01:24:1292||41:21:8233||26||0|
|DNF||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb||Falcon FG||11||01:24:6099||33:41:8310||22||0|
|DNF||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff||Commodore VE2||6||01:26:2012||22:21:0225||14||0|