Time to go out with a bang

  • 04/12/2014
  • By Riana Crehan
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Season 2014 -it all kicked off back on February 27 at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide. Thirteen events later, a quick visit to each corner of the country, a short hop over the ditch and here we are at our grand finale ready to go out with a bang! What an unbelievable season it has been. Amazing to reflect on how it has all unfolded and the stories that have unraveled for us to get to where we are.

When we exploded onto the streets of Adelaide, witnessing a spectacular rollover by an innocent Jason Bright and then one of the most replayed finishes and talked about post-race interviews of the season with Scotty McLaughlin unknowingly creating his own 'jandal army', we knew we were on a winning strategy.

Take a minute to think about some of the numbers so far -35 Championship races across Australia and New Zealand, 11 different winners, four manufacturers have taken victories, all five have stood on the podium, seven different teams have claimed a win and eight different cars have started from ARMOR ALL Pole Position.

Along the way we have had some pretty incredible and memorable moments - racing on ANZAC weekend in New Zealand and celebrating the ANZACs together was a very special moment in our sport.

Erebus Motorsport had its first taste of victory at Winton with Lee Holdsworth. I was fortunate enough to be doing the post-race interviews - it was such an emotional win for everyone in the team and I have never heard a crowd chant a team owners name like they did for Betty! Then just a few weeks later it was Volvo's turn. First year back in the category and to take a victory at Barbagallo Raceway was another pretty awesome moment to witness from pitlane. Nissan also had its time in the sun with a Pole Position at QR and then, of course, that brilliant result at Bathurst!

Bathurst, as always, needs its own epic novel. So many stories -last to first, crashes, fuel shortages, heartbreak, lap records, a red flag, the list goes on.

It has been a season with so many highlights, heartaches and record-breaking moments - and there's more to come this weekend, with the crowning of a six-time V8 Supercars Champion on Sunday afternoon.

The Sydney NRMA 500 is such a special way to conclude our season. Being at a place that hosted the Olympic Games, the site holds so much history - and it is a racetrack that offers such a challenge for the drivers and so much excitement and entertainment for the fans.

This year the format is different from any other year as we are now using the SuperStreet format, holding three races instead of two, with two 125km races on Saturday and a 250km race on Sunday all on hard Dunlop tyres.

The concrete lined streets of Sydney have proven to be car killers and the Sydney circuit has generated the most unpredictable results of anywhere on our calendar, with nine different winners out of the 10 races contended.

The guy with the most Sydney 500 street cred is Shane van Gisbergen; he has recorded five podiums including a victory last year. He has also racked up a Pole Position and a podium at the Clipsal 500 this year, a circuit very similar to Homebush, and a Pole and a win on the streets of the Gold Coast -so we know he loves a street fight.

Three-hundred points are on offer this weekend and though the Championship may be wrapped up but there is a seriously hot battle raging for second place between Mark Winterbottom, Craig Lowndes and van Gisbergen. These guys want to be the best of the rest and as much as they say nothing matters unless you're first, it does.

Battles continue to boil throughout the field, with the points tight from seventh to 12th. With the potential for a bit of rain around, if you look at the latest forecast, and know what that does to a street circuit, it's going to be gloves off to get those crucial last remaining points.

I also must mention I am slightly excited we have Marcos Ambrose joining us on the grid! For many years there has been speculation about his future - is he or isn't he - and finally the day has come. Yes he is - and he is back this weekend, joining our category full-time next year. I have had the opportunity to meet Marcos a couple of times and it's certainly going to be exciting for our fans to have him back in the paddock.

Riana's Wrap

- Street track and potential for rain, Van Gisbergen will be the one to watch

- Can Ford get a Pole Position before the season ends?

- If Winterbottom and Lowndes are near each other on track expect fireworks

- Is anyone going to retire that we see back on the grid at the Clipsal in 2015?

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