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Kelly plots latest rebuild after fire heartbreak

MASON Kelly’s brutal Super2 initiation will see him and the Kelly Racing crew embark on yet another extensive rebuild.

While on the surface Kelly took zero points away from Perth, it was a strong round for the 19-year-old and certainly his best Dunlop Series showing yet.

After being the innocent victim of a multi-car crash in the Saturday race, Kelly responded by qualifying fifth for the Sunday race and holding that position until fire engulfed his #22 Mustang – triggering scenes of despair.

“It was a spontaneous failure,” Kelly reflected.

“The engines were still well within life, the plan was to always take them out after Perth as they still had a test day’s worth of life in them and were due to become spares.

“We suspect it’s a conrod that has gone through the sump, with the oil coming out of the engine and spreading throughout the car resulting in catching on fire.”

Mason Kelly’s car catches fire. Source: Fox Sports

Kelly did crucially manage to guide his car to a fire marshal post, an act which may prove helpful in terms of having limited the damage.

“We don’t really talk about it, but on a track walk we always look for those flag points and just in the moment you’ve got to be on it,” he recounted.

“It’s a matter of trying to save the car while not being t-boned attempting to cross the track at the same time, which is bloody tricky.”

Regardless, a full rebuild is on the cards.

“It was a fair rush to get everything packed up on its way to Melbourne, but from what we did have a look at it there appears to be a fair lot of damage,” noted Kelly Jr.

“The fire was going for a fair while and everything got really hot. There will be a lot of brake, clutch and electrical lines in addition to a lot of hardware, which will be going in the bin. It’ll be basically stripped back to a shell and rebuilt.

“It’s gone all the way through the car as the oil spread to the back so the boot lid is burnt to a crisp and most of the panels have melted in some way.

The #22 Kelly Mustang after being wiped out of Race 1 in Perth. Pic: Ross Gibb

“It’ll be a big push from everyone at Kelly Racing, not that there are many of us. Dad (Todd), Daniel (Veronese, team manager), my other mechanic Mikey and myself will be going flat out to build it before Townsville.

“There will be a lot of parts we’ll need to make and that’s why we’re really lucky that we manufacture a lot of those components ourselves in the machine and composites shop. The good thing is we can do a lot of it in-house, but there will still be plenty to do.

“At Perth, we demonstrated the pace to be up that front and I believe we can continue this for the rest of the season. We’re still seeking some support to come onboard and I want to keep on fighting up the front like we did in Perth.”

Townsville hosts Round 3 of the 2024 Dunlop Series on July 5-7.

Kelly’s teammate Aaron Cameron is second in the standings, only behind Kai Allen.

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