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Ford draw first blood in V8 Supercar endurance race


Ford's Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom have taken victory in the Betta Electrical Sandown 500, the first of two endurance events in the 2006 V8 Supercar championship.

FPR driver Jason Bright held off a late race attack from Holden's Rick Kelly to win the race for a thrilling conclusion.

Bright passed Kelly for the lead with 23 laps to go, and with co-drivers' Mark Winterbottom (FPR) and Todd Kelly (Toll/HSV) watching nervously from pit lane, an intense battle ensued between the two.

The fight for the lead ignited the deep Ford/Holden rivalry amongst the vocal crowd, and the cheers continued as the Ford Performance Racing driver crossed the finish line ahead of Kelly.

"We've had a great car this year, but haven't always had the luck," said Betta Electrical 500 winner Jason Bright after the race.

"It's great to take the win in one of V8 Supercar's big races of the year . it's been a long time coming!"

Finishing in second place gave the Kelly brothers 310 points, closing the championship gap by 10 points on leader Craig Lowndes, who was third in the race with Jamie Whincup.

Kelly now goes to Bathurst just 27 points behind Lowndes on unadjusted figures, and 97 points in arrears when the drivers drop their worst round.

It was Rick Kelly's best Sandown 500 result in four attempts and Todd's second successive second placing in the annual warm-up for Bathurst.

"I was a little disappointed, as we have been sitting around in or around the top three for most of the year and haven't cracked it for a win. When Brighty got by me I had been playing around with the brake bias to try to protect the rears (tyres), and I just caught one (front tyre) on that corner and Brighty jumped past me. I was a great move by him - a little bit aggressive - and I didn't want to fight him too much for it, and in the end I couldn't do the same to him," said Rick Kelly.

Results: Betta Electrical 500 - Sandown
1 Ford Performance Racing J.Bright/M.Winterbottom Ford Falcon BA 03:22:16.2954
2 Toll HSV Dealer Team R.Kelly/T.Kelly Holden Commodore VZ 03:22:16.4540
3 Team Betta Electrical C.Lowndes/J.Whincup Ford Falcon BA 03:22:34.0142
4 FirstRock Home Loans W.Davison/S.Johnson Ford Falcon BA 03:22:39.1147
5 Team BOC J.Bowe/B.Jones Ford Falcon BA 03:22:39.8524
6 Repco Valvoline Cummins Team D.Canto/L.Holdsworth Holden Commodore VZ 03:22:52.3777
7 WPS Racing C.Baird/J.Bargwanna Ford Falcon BA 03:22:47.8878
8 Team Sirromet Wines S.Ellery/P.Morris Holden Commodore VZ 03:22:49.6528
9 Jeld-Wen Motorsport J.Courtney/G.Seton Ford Falcon BA 03:22:56.2422
10 Supercheap Auto Racing N.Pretty/P.Weel Holden Commodore VZ 03:23:01.7326
11 WPS Racing D.Besnard/M.Wilson Ford Falcon BA 03:23:05.2664
12 Autobarn Racing T.Longhurst/S.Owen Holden Commodore VZ 03:22:21.4208
13 Team Kiwi Racing F.Coulthard/P.Radisich Holden Commodore VZ 03:22:42.2521

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