HSV Dealer Team leader Rick Kelly has put his quest to win the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship on one side in order to throw everything he has at winning the Bathurst 1000 this weekend.
Kelly has tasted victory at Mount Panorama before, having won back-to-back titles with Greg Murphy in 2003 and 2004, but, with same support crew - which also won successive V8 titles in 2006-07 - behind him now, is prepared to sacrifice a second overall crown for glory in the biggest event of the year.
“The team I am with knows all about Bathurst success” Kelly said, “We are definitely aware of what it takes to win and I know we can translate that confidence onto the track. It is going to be a long shot for us to win the championship now, so the only thing we are focused on is qualifying tht car up the front and winning that race.”
Having taken race one victory in the recent L&H 500 at Phillip Island, Kelly is certain that he and veteran team-mate Paul Radisich have what it takes to put in a good result at Bathurst.
“As far as outright wins goes, it has been tough for us, but getting that win at Phillip Island was a good boost for the team before heading into the most important race of the year," he maintained, “Our motivation is at a high at the moment and it has come at the right time.”
With main Bathurst rivals such as Garth Tander, Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup also fighting it out for the overall title, Kelly is more determined to do whatever it takes to win the prestigious race.
“The main thing we have on our side is our rivals are all focused on the championship as well," he confirmed, "That is something right now that is not on my mind and winning that race at Bathurst is my primary concern. Nothing is going to get in the way of that!”
HSV team-mate Paul Dumbrell already has reason to celebrate as he makes his tenth start at Bathurst this year, and is hoping that his partnership with rising star David Reynolds can yield a suitable result to mark the occasion.
“On a personal level, I have performed quite well at Bathurst over my career and, as this will be my tenth start there, I am really looking forward to it,” Dumbrell said, “David did a great job down at Phillip Island, after we didn't quite have the qualifying times we needed for the main race, and we came from 28th on the grid to be knocking on the door of the top ten by half distance. Dave now has a few race miles under his belt and I think the car will be very strong at Bathurst.”
The #16 Autobarn Commodore showed promising speed at Phillip Island and, after a rough qualifying session, Dumbrell moved from last on the grid almost into the top ten before suffering engine dramas.
“We should take something out of getting close to the top ten ahead of Bathurst," Reynolds insisted, “If we can qualify the car well, we should end up with a good result.”