The Northern Territory news Fri 14 Jun 2013
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
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www.ntnews.com.au Friday, June 14, 2013. NT NEWS. 31 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:14-JGE:31 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Nissan looking for top result in the Top End A FULLY-fledgedNissan factory entrymay be brand new to Darwins Hidden Valley Raceway, but the Japanese manufacturer is not a new name to the Australian motorsport landscape. In the 1980s and 1990s, Nissanwas a serious player in the Australian Touring Car Championship, winning 28 races and the famous Bathurst 1000 twice. In 2013, Nissan returns to top-level Australian motorsportwith a four-car factory team, formed out of theMelbourne-based Kelly Racing squad. Headed by teamprincipals/ drivers Todd and Rick Kelly and joined by emerging stars Michael Caruso and James Moffat, the foursome are competing in Nissan Altimas amid-sized sedan that is set to be released on to local roads in the fourth quarter of 2013. Whilemost hardened race fanswill remember Nissans participation in the Australian Touring Car Championshipwith the all-conquering GTR dubbed Godzilla tighter, controlled technical rules under V8 Supercars Car of the Future regulations has ensured theNissanswill race on a level playing fieldwith categorymainstays Ford andHolden. After five events of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship, NissanMotorsport has produced outstanding results. Rick Kelly andMoffat have amassed 12 top 10 finishes between them,with Kelly scoring two fifth place qualifying efforts in the last event in Austin, Texas. Given the short time frame in which the team had to create the Altimas, these results are highly encouraging, but its only just a tiny step towards NissanMotorsports goals regular podiums, racewins and, ultimately, the championship. Wevemade a great start to the 2013 championship, Rick Kelly said. Weve dealt with some frustrations, butweve provedwe are heading in the right direction. Withmore development on our engine program and a strong desire for success, we feel that as the year rolls around, wewill be a real contender. Touring CarMasters prepare for theValley of hidden glory T HETouring CarMasters will heat upHidden Valley Raceway this weekend as part of the SKYCITY Triple Crown Event 6 2013V8 Supercars Championship with three races across theweekend thrilling the crowds at the fences. In theweeks following the challenging Round 2 of the eight-round Touring Car Masters season, crewswere able assessed the battle wounds and finish putting final touches on their machines to have a strong field of classic muscle cars on the grid at Hidden Valley. TheHidden Valley Raceway tarmac has proven to be a place ofweekend dominance, with four of the past five years seeing clean sweeps of outright race victories and round glory. Dual series champion John Bowe has visited the Valley many times over the 16 years of racing in the Territory and sits atop the list ofmost successful Masters at the circuit. With four pole positions, seven racewins, two clean sweepweekends on series debut in 2008 aboard a Camaro, and again last year in his Mustang Bowe also holds the original and current lap records. Bowe has just an eight point buffer over Jim Richards, with AndrewMiedecke also ready to strike for Class As outright lead, while in Class Bs Pro-Sportsman standings, just four points separate Steve Mason and Greg Keene going to Darwin. Both Richards and Gavin Bullas, themselves series champions, have also mastered the Valley in years of dominance (2009Bullas, 2010 Richards). While, in the Pro-Sportsman classes (previously Groups) Cameron Tilley and Tony Karanfilovski have also taken clean sweep honours, with both drivers returning in 2013 armedwith Ford power.