Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
From The Herald Sun
V8 rookies given a chance
TWO of this season's hottest V8 Supercar rookies have won last-minute inclusion in the Australian Grand Prix support race.
Brazilian ace Max Wilson and Formula Holden champion Rick Kelly have been added to the star-studded Ford versus Holden pre-season showdown at Albert Park after V8 Supercar organisers decided to boost the grid to 34 runners.
Both drivers said the chance to get some competition under their belts before the 2002 championship started in Adelaide on March 16 would be crucial.
"For me, it is very important," Wilson said yesterday.
"It doesn't count for the championship, so to just get some starts, finish the races and see how things go on the track will be very good for me.
"I haven't had much time in these cars, so it will be good to have some races."
Wilson has joined the Briggs Motorsport team alongside Bathurst winner Tony Longhurst after failing to find a concrete deal to remain in Champ Car racing.
Despite his well-credentialled resume, the 29-year-old former test driver for the Williams F1 team and Michelin isn't making any bold predictions about his debut V8 Supercar season.
"Until the first time we go to the track, it is hard to judge," Wilson said.
"My target is to be in the front, but I'll have to wait and see. I will be up against guys who have a lot more experience than me in these cars. It's going to be interesting."
After flying to Australia in December for a brief testing run, Wilson had his first serious run in the Falcon racer yesterday.
"It is difficult at the beginning, but I'm just getting used to it all the time," he said.
"I hope they treat me like everyone else. But I understand they are Australian drivers and I am Brazilian. It will be difficult, but it doesn't bother me."
Kelly, on the other hand, raced against the V8 Supercar stars when he joined the K mart Racing crew for the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000 enduros last year and a season-ending solo run at Sandown.
He has taken over from Paul Romano as the official Holden Young Lions driver as the team has been pulled back in-house by the championship-winning Holden Racing Team.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.