Having finished second in the Sandown 500 last year, Rick Kelly and Paul Radisich will hope to go one better as the opening V8 Supercar enduro event of the year moves to Phillip Island this weekend.
The pair arrive at the L&H 500 looking to get the HSV Dealer Team's campaign firmly on track after a difficult start to the year, although Kelly still lies fourth in the points standings going into the event.
With plenty of points up for grabs, a solid result will allow him to stay in contention and he admitted that a good result at both Phillip Island and Bathurst would be key to him mounting a challenge for the crown.
“Heading out of Phillip Island and Bathurst we will know whether we are in with a shot of the championship again or whether we need to consolidate the position we are currently in,” he said. “The endurance events are always something I look forward to and enjoy having a good crack at. I would like to think we are in with a chance of finishing on the podium or possibly going for a round win. The race itself throws so many different variables at you that can definitely mix things up a bit.”
Veteran driver Radisich meanwhile will be returning to action in the series and said he felt sure that tyre wear would play a crucial part in success or failure at Phillip Island.
“Over the last few weeks I have been training quite a bit, probably the only thing I am missing is a bit of racing mileage, but I am expecting that will come back to me pretty quickly,” he said. “I think this year it is all going to be about tyre wear, as in where and when you use your tyres and also not forgetting what part the weather will play in the whole scenario.”
While Kelly and Radisich occupy the drivers seat of the #15 Commodore, dealer team regular Paul Dumbrell will be joined by Fujitsu series young gun David Reynolds in the #16 Autobarn Commodore.
“I am looking forward to gaining some experience with a great team and having the opportunity to drive one of the quickest cars in the field, which is something I haven't been able to do for a while,” Reynolds said. “If Paul and I can achieve a top ten this weekend that would be good, if we can get inside the top five that would be exceptional and anything beyond that would be unbelievable.”