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Morris gets Big Kev excited

New hero: Paul Morris kept the field at bay to give Holden its first win in four rounds.

Paul Morris grabbed his first V8 Supercar round win, while series leader Mark Skaife struggled mid pack

16 Jul 2001

PAUL Morris and the Big Kev Commodore sprang from the V8 Supercar wilderness yesterday to score overall victory in the seventh round of the Shell Series at Calder Park in Melbourne.

Morris' win brings an end to Ford's mid season revival and three-round winning streak, returning Holden to the winners circle for the first time since round three at Eastern Creek in April.

"It's pretty exciting after a year and a half of hard work," Morris said.

"It's a round win and not a championship win, but it is great in that it will give the whole team a big lift." Morris qualified well to start race one from third on the grid and went on to finish second behind Steven Johnson in the Shell Falcon.

Johnson's gun starting technique deserted him in race two and he slipped back to sixth, allowing Morris to take his first ever race win since making the switch from the Super Touring category at the beginning of last year.

He was hounded all the way by Russell Ingall's Castrol Commodore but managed to withstand the pressure by driving a tight, defensive line.

Privateer Morris also took the chequered flag in race three, hotly pursued by Johnson's teammate Paul Radisich, to claim overall honours for the round and a massive 274 points haul.

"It has been a tough initiation," Morris said.

"It's hard to work out this category all by ourselves, because we didn't start from the basis of an established team and with restrictions on test days and the competitiveness of the whole field it is a big job to become a winner." Morris' maiden race and round victories came at the expense of series leader Mark Skaife in the HRT Commodore, who finished the weekend 14th overall with his championship lead significantly reduced.

Skaife started the weekend on a high after clinching his third pole position of the year, with a typically fast hot lap in the top ten shootout.

But from there it was all downhill, as he was hit with a stop-go penalty in race one for a first corner incident with Steven Johnson that forced him to start from the back of the field for the second race. He fought his way back to be as high as 11th, before spinning late in the third race and finishing in 18th place.

Morris was joined on the podium by Johnson and Ingall, who both took advantage of the opportunity to close the gap on points' leader Skaife.

"You have got to be careful these days, particularly if you are like myself or Steven (Johnson) and trying to chase the championship, and especially after we saw Skaife drop from first to 29th after his mistake," Ingall said.

"You have to be aware that there are officials walking around with loaded guns and I don't want to get shot. The gap to Skaife and Bright at the top of the points table is smaller now, so Junior (Johnson) and I are in with a real show." Skaife's lead in the drivers' championship has been reduced from 109 points to just 17, after teammate Jason Bright's fifth placing gave him another consistent points haul. Ingall and Johnson are now 224 and 232 points behind Skaife respectively.

Radisich and Tander moved into the top ten at the expense of Todd Kelly and Glenn Seton, who both had disappointing weekends. Morris has moved up from 19th to 14th in the drivers' standings after his round win.

1 Steven Johnson (Ford) 20:11.6398
2 P Morris (Holden) +3.7761
3 M Ambrose (Ford) +5.2594
4 R Ingall (Holden) +5.3709
5 P Radisich (Ford) +6.0348
6 Jason Bright (Holden) +6.9892
7 David Besnard (Ford) +12.9221
8 Steve Ellery (Ford) +13.2922
9 Steven Richards (Ford) +17.8070
10 Garth Tander (Holden) +18.4133 RACE 2 RESULTS
1 Paul Morris (Holden) 20:19.3653
2 R Ingall (Holden) +0.3429
3 J Bright (Holden) +1.0640
4 P Radisich (Ford) +1.3558
5 M Ambrose (Ford) +4.4109
6 S Johnson (Ford) +4.7424
7 S Richards (Ford) +7.0431
8 G Tander (Holden) +7.5054
9 S Ellery (Ford) +8.1383
10 Cameron McConville (Holden) +8.3931 RACE 3 RESULTS
1 Paul Morris (Holden) 24:45.4588
2 P Radisich (Ford) +0.1465
3 R Ingall (Holden) +0.3742
4 S Johnson (Ford) +0.6304
5 J Bright (Holden) +0.8882
6 S Ellery (Ford) +1.1568
7 G Tander (Holden) +1.8577
8 Greg Murphy (Holden) +2.1399
9 M Ambrose (Ford) +3.6542
10 S Richards (Ford) +4.2742 OVERALL RESULTS
1 Paul Morris (Holden) 274 points
2 Johnson (Ford) 230
3 Ingall (Holden) 228
4 Radisich (Ford) 208
5 Bright (Holden) 200
6 Ambrose (Ford) 194
7 Ellery (Ford) 156
8 Tander (Holden) 150
9 Richards (Ford) 148
10 McConville (Holden) 134 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Mark Skaife (HRT) 1720 points
2 Bright (HRT) 1703
3 Ingall (Castrol Holden) 1496
4 Johnson (Shell Ford) 1488
5 Ambrose (Pirtek Ford) 1262
6 Murphy (K-Mart Holden) 1248
7 Richards (Tickford Ford) 1211
8 Radisich (Shell Ford) 1185
9 Lowndes (Gibson Ford) 1146
10 Tander (Valvoline-Cummins Holden) 1080 Next round: Oran Park, NSW, July 28-29

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