By Matthew Agius

The Holden Racing Team has exited the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with no points and damaged pride after both cars retired from the classic race before the first round of pitstops.

With high expectations driving his desire to take a win for former teammate and friend Peter Brock, Mark Skaife started from pole position with what was the fastest car for the weekend, however no sooner had the lights gone green had Skaife encountered the first major problem of his weekend - a slipping clutch - and his slowly limped to Hell Corner as he was swamped by his rivals. Trundling up Mountain Straight, Skaife moved to the left hand side of the track, his clutch not amending itself, before he was rammed in the rear of his Commodore by Jack Perkins - the young rookie caught out by the stranded car as he attempted to avoid getting harassed by opposing cars.

Heartbroken, Skaife assured Perkins the incident wasn't his fault, but conceded it was the only race that he wanted to win in his long and decorated career.

"It's the most disappointing thing to have ever happened in my career," said Skaife.

"Of all the weekends where we were in such good shape to win ... I can't remember a year at Bathurst where we were so strong or the expectations so high. The clutch was slipping and it was doing it in fifth gear so it was doing it like you wouldn't believe.

"Jack Perkins couldn't see me over the crest of the hill on Mountain Straight. He's a good young guy and it certainly wasn't his fault so he didn't need to apologise like he did. But I don't think I've ever wanted to win a race so badly in my whole life."

Co-driver Garth Tander didn't get to drive a lap in anger, and the result, another DNF for the #2 car in the enduros, has virtually ended his championship aspirations - he now sits sixth in the championship.

"It's definitely the most disappointing day of my career. It was over before it ever began, but there's nothing you can do about it," said Tander.

"I'm glad that Rick (Kelly) had a solid result so he can now be given every opportunity to win the championship. The car had no problems in the warmup and was spot on. There were no problems at all. This one hurts."

The team's second car of Jim Richards and Ryan Briscoe retired before the first round of pitstops when the understeering #22 Commodore at the hands of Jim Richards failed to provide grip and turn, and as the veteran attempted to keep pace, crashed into the wall at the esses.

"I was getting more and more understeer as the stint went on and I was having it in places that I've never really experienced it before," said Richards.

"I don't think the tyre burst, but it just didn't have the grip and was losing it more and more each lap. It was driver error. I was trying to keep the pace up but I hit the right hand wall on the exit of the Dipper and it went back into the wall on the left."

Ryan Briscoe didn't complete at racing lap at Bathurst, meaning he may need to wait until next year to get the opportunity to do so.

"If we got a Safety Car on that lap Jim crashed then I was going to jump aboard for my first stint. But unfortunately it was Jim that brought out the yellow!" said Briscoe.

"It's such a shame. Jim has done a great job all weekend and proved he's still quick enough to run with the good guys in this category. But he just got caught out. It's a shame but that's the way it is. It gives me all the more reason to come back for 2007."

The Holden Racing Team will compete in the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Surfers Paradise.