Incredible yellow and black attack: Winton's biggest shock

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 24/08/2021
  • By James Pavey

On this day eight years ago, James Moffat led Michael Caruso in an extraordinary one-two for Nissan at Winton.

Winton, which will host the next round of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship, belonged to the Kelly squad on August 24, 2013.

The victory set the team on a path to win races with three different manufacturers, a feat which was recorded courtesy of Andre Heimgartner earlier this year.

Nissan rejoined the category with the Kellys in 2013, coinciding with the new Car of the Future regulations.

A tough start to the season was expected, but it was bruising for the team. Across all four cars heading to Winton, the team had recorded 17 top 10s.

Moffat had recorded seven top 10s to Caruso’s one heading to Winton. Rick Kelly had eight, seven more than older brother Todd.

Rick did manage to string together five consecutive top 10 results across the Circuit of the Americas and Hidden Valley weekends.

By the time the ninth championship event of the year rolled around at Winton, the team was desperate for an upturn in form.

The Nissan and Erebus-run AMG squads were allowed to evaluate an 70 percent ethanol fuel blend rather than the standard E85, in the effort to balance the fuel economy of the respective engines.

Moffat and Caruso ran the new blend, with Maro Engel doing so for Erebus.

It didn’t stop reigning series champion Jamie Whincup from claiming pole, albeit by 0.0165s. His closest challenger? Caruso, with Moffat third.

All 27 drivers were within 0.8s of the Whincup’s pole time.

Whincup led the first leg of the race until a driveline failure forced him to pull off the circuit on lap 10.

That left the two yellow Norton-backed Altimas in the lead, with Moffat ahead having taken over at the double-file rolling restart.

Moffat led by nearly a second, but a Turn 10 mistake with six laps to go brought Caruso back into contention.

However, the son of four-time Australian Touring Car Champion Allan Moffat held on to become the 11th different race winner of the season.

The two Nissans running the E85, driven by Rick and Todd Kelly, finished 14th and 24th respectively. Engel finished 18th.

The celebrations were raucous, both Kelly brothers revelling in the result for their teammates.

Still, the fuel blend change continued to make waves, with V8 Supercars reiterating post-race that there was no advantage.

It was understood that post-race investigation of each car’s engine control unit showed the Norton Nissans were no faster in a straight line than other two Jack Daniel’s Altimas.

The data also showed the fastest Nissan to be 4km/h slower down the main straight than the leading Ford Falcon, and 3km/h slower than the leading Holden Commodore.

Moffat was elated with the win, but was disappointed it was being overshadowed by the fuel chatter.

“There is no performance implications on the car at all, this is purely about fuel consumption,” Moffat said.

“I am probably a little bit annoyed because it will get to the team guys more than anything.

Pic: AN1 Images

"They have worked their backsides off to get us to this stage and it probably takes a bit of the gloss off what’s been a pretty good day for us.

“One-two at this level of racing is not to be sneezed at.

"People can call it jungle juice or whatever they want, but I think Jamie has had a pretty good run over the years."

A Nissan wouldn't win again until Caruso in Darwin in 2013, with Moffat combining with Chaz Mostert to win on the Gold Coast in 2018.

The Repco Supercars Championship will return to Winton on October 2-3.

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