by Andy Stobart

Team Kiwi Racing's Paul Radisich ended his 2005 V8 Supercar Series championship with a strong race weekend at the BigPond Grand Finale with three top ten race results and Radisich is looking forward to 2006 with the announcement of a new sponsorship deal from 3M and Makita tools.

Radisich qualified in sixteenth place for the first of the three races, but made a late stop in the first to vault up the order to finish seventh, driving a very wide Commodore to keep Steve Ellery in the Betta Electrical Falcon behind him.

"It doesn't get much better than that, considering where we've come from at the start," a smiling Paul Radisich told Radio. "We made a great start, we picked four off there, and had a great strategy during the race in the pit-stops went really well, just everything fell into place."

For the final laps Radisich had to keep a very determined Steve Ellery in the Betta Electrical Falcon behind him. It was a twist on the final race meeting of 2004 where Radisich had been in a Betta Electrical car and trying to keep a determined Craig Lowndes in the FPR Falcon behind.

"I wasn't going to let him past was I! Steve came up on me pretty quickly and there was about three to go and I made the conscious decision, there's two decisions to make, one is trying to go like hell and shake him off which you're never going to do so the other one was hold him up," explained the TKR driver. "I thought I'd better go for the other option and hold him up in the areas that he was fast and Steve couldn't do anything about that."

Having moved up amidst the quicker cars, Radisich then had a strong race two to finish eighth before not faring as well in the final race where he placed fourteenth. He ended in the round scorings as ninth, one place ahead of Mark Skaife.

In the championship Radisich ended in fourteenth position and confident looking to next year with a new sponsorship deal with 3M and Makita tools already in the bag. Radisich is happy that deal has been done. "It's brilliant," he says. "Makita and 3M have both stepped up to the plate and both are worldwide known companies and the sponsorship is all out of New Zealand and it's the biggest sponsorship package that both of those companies have done so I'm just pleased that they can see the value in motor racing and it's really going to help Team Kiwi Racing to move on to the next level of development and the race programme."

It's widely acknowledged that the TKR chassis is a tidy bit of kit, all that's been lacking this season is a few extra horses under the bonnet, and that's exactly what the TKR team will be spending money next year.

"A lot in the engine department, that's where a lot of development has to go, and of course chassis as well so between the two areas, but a lot of it's going towards the engine programme," he says.

The experienced driver certainly has nothing to worry about from the younger chargers in the field as his pace is far from being questioned these days. Radisich is certainly enjoying himself, and he's racing when he'd actually planned to already be retired.

"We'll just play it by ear, I said I'd retire at forty but I'm forty-two now so who knows? I'll just play it year by year and if the body holds up and I'm still keen to go racing then I'll keep doing it."