‘That was huge’: Kelly’s late Bathurst scare

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/10/2019
  • By Connor O'Brien

Two-time Great Race winner Rick Kelly left this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 disappointed after a top-five result slipped from his grasp.

The Castrol Altima of Kelly and Dale Wood entered the last 10 laps an impressive fifth after flying under the radar for much of the day.

Unseen by television cameras, he was hit by a lapped but charging Chaz Mostert at Skyline on lap 154, allowing rivals to close.

Kelly was then overtaken by David Reynolds into The Chase on that lap, before falling to 10th the next time around.

“I think that’s the first time I have been punted off by a lapped car with Chaz at Skyline,” an exasperated Kelly told Supercars.com.

“That was huge, I couldn’t believe it. He was getting blue flags and he dived me at Skyline a few laps from the end.”

Mostert had been a lap down after serving a penalty for colliding with teammate Cameron Waters at The Chase, ending both of their chances of a podium.

The Supercheap Auto Mustang ultimately recorded the fastest lap of the race the lap after the contact with Kelly - setting a new lap record at 2:04.7602s.

Kelly meanwhile regained a spot when teammate Andre Heimgartner crashed out and he would stay ninth when the chequered flag fell.

“When you don’t have the result you want, you leave disappointed,” Kelly said.

“But we can leave I think a little bit excited with the pace we had.

“We put in a huge effort and I think we surprised ourselves with just how competitive the car was.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to show that in the race because we were fuel saving for most of it and the numbers we had to hit were pretty unbelievable so that hindered our pace.

“It was only on the very last lap that we could push and by then you can’t go from ninth to where you want to be, so it is what it is.

“We leave disappointed with the result, excited by the potential.”

The Great Race was the first event since the Altima underwent its latest aerodynamic tweak.

“That’s probably the best opportunity we have had in a Nissan,” Kelly added.

The two-time Bathurst 1000 winner had only once before recorded a top 10 finish at the Mountain aboard a Nissan; eighth in 2014 with David Russell.

Although yet to be confirmed by the team, Kelly Racing has been strongly linked to a switch to Ford Mustangs for next season.

Kelly and Wood will next be in action at Surfers Paradise across October 25-27.

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