V8 » 1 January 1901
Ingall best Holden at Sandown.
Supercheap Auto Racing's Russell Ingall recorded his best V8 Supercar round result since switching back to Holden at the start of the season, after finishing fifth overall at Sandown International Raceway's Midas 400.
The highest-placed Holden driver for the round, Ingall got the weekend off to a great start by qualifying the #39 SCAR Commodore sixth quickest on Sunday - his first top ten grid position of the season - before storming home to finish fourth in race one later that day.
It all could have all turned sour for the former V8 champion, however, as he narrowly missed Rick Kelly's Commodore and what could have potentially been a huge incident when the HSV Dealer Team driver lost control and spun at high speed. Ingall emerged unscathed through a cloud of smoke, as did fellow Holden driver Garth Tander, while Kelly lost only three spots and continued to finish the race seventh.
"The incident with Rick got a bit scary, as he grabbed too much kerb and got himself into a huge 'tankslapper'," the veteran admitted, "I actually thought he'd saved it for a moment - then, when he went around, I wasn't sure which way to go, inside or out. I went to the inside and got through. He was still sideways when I went past, but it could have been a huge one!"
The Queen's Birthday holiday brought rain for race two on Monday, and Ingall struggled in the wet conditions before fighting hard to finish seventh to set up a possible podium.
The final 39-lap race was run in the dry and Ingall's good form continued, finishing sixth after an enthralling battle with fellow Holden driver Todd Kelly and rookie Shane van Gisbergen in the closing stages, the three running nose-to-tail to the end.
"First Holden home, our best result of the year and we're rapt!" Ingall enthused, "Too bad we had the wet race this morning, otherwise we might have even been on the podium. Our Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore was good in the dry, we had good speed all weekend, and it's showing that we're definitely moving in the right direction - we proved we can run with the frontrunners.
"Qualifying up the 'pointy' end of the grid makes all the difference, as you don't have to bash and crash your way through the field like we've had to so far this season. We qualified well and put ourselves in a position to do well."
"Next we head north to Darwin and that's one of my favourite circuits - I've won there in Holdens in the past and the plan is to do it again!"
"Russell's result was great for the team and our sponsors, and really is where we should have been in Perth," team-mate and team owner Paul Morris commented.
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