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Stewards confirm Kelly as V8 champion


An Australian V8 Supercar stewards' hearing on December 11 dismissed Craig Lowndes' protest against new V8 Supercar champion Rick Kelly, saying the drive-through penalty imposed on him for an on-track incident at Phillip Island at the weekend was adequate.

No further action will be taken, and Lowndes says he won't take the matter further, saying that he regards himself as the series' moral victor.
Kelly finished ahead of Lowndes in the race and thus became the 2006 V8 Supercar champion.

Kelly and brother Todd tangled with Lowndes early in the series' final race on Sunday.

Lowndes and Rick had gone into the race equal on points after Lowndes had whittled away Kelly's points lead in the round's opening two races.
Kelly's team, Toll HSV Dealer Team, said it was satisfied with the outcome of the Stewards' hearing, which ran for four hours.

"The investigation was clearly conducted thoroughly, and concluded that no further penalties should be imposed for the racing incident in Race 3 at Phillip Island," Toll said in a statement.

"We would like to thank all the officials involved in this investigation for the timeliness with which they have resolved this important issue.
"Based on yesterday’s (incident report) findings, we were confident going into today’s hearing that there would be no further case to answer.

"It is unfortunate that the result of the championship has been prolonged. Now, for the sake of all involved, including the drivers, teams and most importantly the race fans, these matters are now behind us."
Rick Kelly said he was "certainly glad it's all over and the decision has been made. We've worked hard all year for this and the team deserved this championship.

"We would have loved to have raced Craig to the line because the team gave us a fantastic car that was capable of winning. Ideally, Craig and I should head down to the island later this week and sort it out for ourselves, but unfortunately it's not to be and we just have to accept it and look for a better way of winning next year.

"We were quietly confident that the penalty they applied on us was adequate for the crime committed on the track as (officials) saw it, and this hearing today supported that.”

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