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Ingall best of the rest

Wet and wild: The treacherous conditions even caught out series champion Mark Skaife, ending his day early.

Runner-up Russell does it again - his third second in the V8 Supercars championship

3 Dec 2001

RUSSELL Ingall is the bridesmaid of V8 Supercars racing for the third time in six years, after surviving the wet and wild conditions at Sandown Raceway yesterday to claim the runner-up position in the championship.

Ingall did not have the best of weekends at the final round V8 Ultimate event but his fourth, 23rd and sixth places in the three races scored him enough points to hold off challenges from Jason Bright and Greg Murphy.

Despite finishing higher than Ingall for the round, both Bright and Murphy had to settle for maintaining their positions in the final championship standings.

Ingall now has the unenviable record of most runner-up positions recorded by a driver who has not won a title.

Overall round honours went to K-Mart Racing's Todd Kelly - the 22-year-old Mildura-born driver becoming the youngest winner of a Shell Series round since a 21-year-old Craig Lowndes won on debut in 1996.

Kelly finished third, first and third in the weekend's three 48-lap races.

It was his second row qualifying effort in the Top 15 Shootout that gave him an advantage over Lowndes, as he edged out his Ford rival by just six points in the overall scores.

"We have had the speed at other rounds this year, but perhaps not the luck," Kelly said.

"Now that the team has the experience at all the tracks, I am looking forward to a more consistent 2002. I want to win a few more rounds next year." Lowndes still had a perfect finish to the season with victory in the final race of the year after a dramatic battle with Marcos Ambrose over the closing laps.

"This is certainly a great way to end the season," Lowndes said.

"I was determined coming into this event to make it one to remember because there's nothing like finishing the season on a high to get everyone pumped up for next year.

"We'd always intended this first season in a Ford to be about testing and development, and to achieve what we have this weekend really proves that all of the hard work that the team has put in has paid off." Newly crowned series champion Mark Skaife began the weekend with another dominant performance, winning the first race from pole position.

But he crashed out of the final race after making a mistake in the treacherous conditions.

Skaife's HRT teammate, Jason Bright, was fifth overall to finish third in the end of season standings.

Greg Murphy was sixth after engine gremlins in the third heat finished his day early, but he maintained fourth spot in the championship.

Steven Johnson endured a miserable finish to his season with engine failure in race two leaving him to battle in midfield for race three.

He finished the year as the best Ford driver with fifth place.

Kelly's win proved what an open affair the 2001 season was, adding to the list of different round winners to make it 10 drivers from the 13 rounds conducted, a record number in the history of the Shell Series.

The 2002 V8 Supercars season will kick off in mid-March with the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide.

1 Mark Skaife (Holden) 1hr04min59.5617sec
2 C Lowndes (Ford) +5.3813
3 T Kelly (Holden) +7.4128
4 R Ingall (Holden) +8.3321
5 J Bright (Holden) +12.6428
6 M Ambrose (Ford) +13.9154
7 Glenn Seton (Ford) +25.5285
8 G Murphy (Holden) +27.3445
9 Jason Bargwanna (Holden) +29.4684
10 Brad Jones (Ford) +34.8361 RACE 2 RESULTS
1 Todd Kelly (Holden) 1hr12min49.5203sec
2 G Murphy (Holden) +10.4814
3 C Lowndes (Ford) +16.6598
4 M Skaife (Holden) +18.0316
5 M Ambrose (Ford) +36.1856
6 Paul Radisich (Ford) +37.7058
7 J Bargwanna (Holden) +1:01.3294
8 Steven Richards (Ford) +1:09.8821
9 Jason Richards (Holden) +1:13.8754
10 Steve Ellery (Ford) + 1:17.5915 RACE 3 RESULTS
1 Craig Lowndes (Ford) 1hr11min05.3245sec
2 M Ambrose (Ford) +1.9260
3 T Kelly (Holden) +3.0030
4 J Bright (Holden) +12.4277
5 Paul Morris (Holden) +13.2750
6 R Ingall (Holden) +26.3453
7 Rick Kelly (Holden) +47.0183
8 Larry Perkins (Holden) +47.8679
9 Simon Wills (Ford) +48.1365
10 John Faulkner (Holden) +48.9013 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP (final standings - Top 25)
1 Mark Skaife (HRT) 3478 points
2 Russell Ingall (Castrol Holden) 2875
3 Jason Bright (HRT) 2819
4 Greg Murphy (K-Mart Holden) 2724
5 Steven Johnson (Shell Ford) 2532
6 Todd Kelly (K-Mart Holden) 2479
7 Paul Radisich (Shell Ford) 2109
8 Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Ford) 2086
9 Steve Ellery (Super Cheap Auto Ford) 2073
10 Garth Tander (Valvoline Holden) 2047
11 Craig Lowndes (Gibson Ford) 1991
12 Steven Richards (Tickford Ford) 1912
13 Tony Longhurst (Rod Nash Ford) 1894
14 Larry Perkins (Castrol Holden) 1856
15 Jason Bargwanna (Valvoline Holden) 1821
16 Glenn Seton (Tickford Ford) 1800
17 Paul Morris (Big Kev Holden) 1701
18 Brad Jones (OzEmail Ford) 1542
19 Mark Larkham (Karcher Ford) 1326
20 Paul Weel (K & J Thermal Ford) 1307
21 Cameron McConville (Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden) 1275
22 John Bowe (CAT Ford) 1270
23 David Besnard (Caltex Havoline Ford) 1153
24 Jason Richards (Vodaphone Holden) 1146
25 Cameron McLean (Ford) 1128

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