Before it had even started, Race three was looking good for Holden teams, as Russell Ingall suffered electrical problems from the onset of proceedings, as his Stone Brothers Falcon refused to start.

Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly looked like repeating the 1-2 finishes of the first two races, until Skaife made his first pitstop. When HRT mechanics struggled with a tyre change, Skaife lost several positions as the mandatory stop dragged on. The team felt even worse when they misjudged what they thought was the best opportunity to bring then race leader Todd Kelly into the pits. When the pitstop sequence was over, Kelly found himself behind the HSV Racing Commodore of Garth Tander, who had steadily improved throughout the weekend.

The Safety Car made its mark on proceedings when, after thirty-three laps had been completed, Andrew Jones parked his Commodore off the track, requiring it to be moved before racing was to return to the Darwin-based circuit.

Tander led the field behind the Safety Car, with Kelly behind him, and HSV Racing team-mate Kick Kelly in third.

Because of his pit-stop misfortune, Skaife fell down as low as twenty-fifth. He had worked his way up into twelfth, and was looking to crack into the top ten, when not long after the safety car peeled away, the watts linkage on his Commodore failed, knocking the HRT man out of the race.

HRT had performed flawlessly throughout the weekend, topping practise, qualifying and the shoot-out, before winning the first two races in a stunning 1-2 fashion. In race two, the team proved their pitstop prowess, and Todd Kelly reminded fans exactly why he is driving for the Holden Racing Team, by winning his second consecutive round.

Tander's win in Race three was his first since tasting victory in 2000, at Bathurst, no less. Two podiums and one wins from three races is a fair result for HSV Racing, who are still finding their feet after a rocky year behind the scenes.

Ford fans had little to cheer about this weekend, although consolation could be found with Dick Johnson Racing, who had both cars finish inside the top ten in race three. Ambrose and Lowndes, who had started race three from the rear of the grid, also managed to sneak into the first ten finishers.

Howeber, Hidden Valley in 2005 will be remembered as an all Holden affair, perhaps even as the return of Holden Racing Team dominance. In three weeks, all eyes will be on Team Red, when the V8 Supercars return to the track at Ipswitch's Queensland Raceway.

Top Ten- Race Three

1- Garth Tander
2- Todd Kelly
3- Rick Kelly
4- Steven Richards
5- Glenn Seton
6- Steven Ellery
7- Steven Johnson
8- Jason Bright
9- Marcos Ambrose
10- Craig Lowndes

 

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