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HomeNewsClassic CarsControversial Kelly title winner to make Phillip Island return

Controversial Kelly title winner to make Phillip Island return

THE Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore that Rick Kelly took to victory in the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series is set to make a return to the circuit at which it claimed the championship.

The #15 Holden will be run by current owners Eggleston Motorsport at the Phillip Island Classic on March 8-10 as part of a SuperSprint of ex-V8 Supercars and touring cars.

The car sealed victory in the 2006 title decider after Kelly and Craig Lowndes entered the last race of the season tied on points.

Kelly made contact with the Ford driver in the early stages, sending him cannoning into race leader, and Rick’s older brother, Todd Kelly’s HRT Commodore.

Lowndes’ Betta Falcon was damaged after being collected by Will Davison’s DJR Ford and was forced to limp to the finish in 29th place with damage that included toe-out that constantly wore out his front tyres and prompted further pit stops.

Kelly received a drive-through penalty for the contact but re-joined to finish 18th and seal his one and only V8 Supercar crown.

The incident was highly controversial with Triple Eight taking post-race action to launch a protest against the penalty imposed on Kelly during the race.

However, no further penalty was given and Kelly was confirmed as champion on the Monday after the final round.

His championship-winning car has since driven into the history books with further series wins – Tony D’Alberto took it to victory in the Fujitsu Series (now Super2) in 2007, while Justin Ruggier and EMS won the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series with the chassis in 2014.

Rick Kelly at Phillip Island in 2007. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

Also being wheeled out by EMS at the Phillip Island Classic is another Kelly car, his #1 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VE.

One of the first batch of VE Commodores produced for V8 Supercar racing by Walkinshaw Racing, the chassis – WR 002 – was driven by Kelly throughout the season he attempted to defend his crown in 2007.

He again drove the chassis for portions of the 2008 season before it moved into the Eggleston fold.

Its last run on-track came at the opening round of the 2013 Dunlop Series in Adelaide when EMS ran it for local driver Jay Verdnik.

Jay Verdnik at Adelaide in 2013. The same car won the Clipsal 500 overall in Rick Kelly’s hands in 2007. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.
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