Nissan Leads Championship After Adelaide – Caruso Second at Chaotic Clipsal

ADELAIDE, Australia (6 March 2016) – Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercars driver Michael Caruso leads the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship following a chaotic Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide.

It is the first time that a Nissan driver has led the Australian Touring Car Championship (now V8 Supercars Championship) since Mark Skaife won the 1992 title at Oran Park 21 June 1992.

Caruso finished second in the final leg of the season-opening event, which began in scorching 36 degree heat but soon turned into a race for survival as torrential rain descended on the Adelaide Parklands street circuit, the #23 NISMO Nissan driver managing to avoid the many obstacles that had struck down the competition.

Strategy played a key part in the race, as some teams fell foul of the rule where each car must ‘drop’ 140 litre of fuel into the car during the race, which was declared after 48 laps, well short of the scheduled 78-lap distance.

Prolonged Safety Car periods and even a red flag and temporary race stoppage due to heavy rain made it one of the most unusual races in the event’s history. Standing water on the circuit and thunder and lightning in the skies were reminiscent of the rain-shortened Adelaide F1 Grands Prix 1989 and 1991.

The #7 carsales Racing and #15 Sengled Racing drivers also performed well throughout the chaotic race. Todd and Rick Kelly made it three Nissan Altima V8 Supercars in the Top 10 with sixth and seventh place respectively, both cars coming homes strong and showing strong wet weather pace, in spite of both being turned around by other cars at some point in the race.

The event proved challenging for new driver Dale Wood. Starting from 22nd position, the #96 GB Galvanizing Racing driver continued his acclimatization with the Nissan squad, making steady progress in the early part of the race. Unable to complete the race, Wood has set his sights on familiarising himself further ahead of the next round.

Michael Caruso, #23 NISMO Nissan Altima:
“A lot of effort has gone in over the off season to start the championship in the best way possible, and there’s no better way to finishing the weekend in the lead of the championship. A lot of credit to everyone involved, not just at the track, but also back at the factory for their hard work. Now the real hard work begins and we have to maintain these results and keep pushing hard so we can stay at the front of the field.”

Todd Kelly, #7 carsales Nissan Altima:
‘It was a funny race, it’s probably a little bit optimistic to say that was our genuine pace in those conditions. Today just goes to show that all the boys did a great job. When the track was dry we certainly had more pace than we’d ever had in the past. It has set up really for the year with our points. It has also given us a bit of confidence and a reason to aim a little bit higher with our goals.”

Rick Kelly, #15 Sengled Nissan Altima
“A big thing with a race like the Clipsal 500 is that it always throws up something that no one expects. Today everyone was talking about the heat and how we were going to get through it, turns out that was the least of our problems. It was the rain that was the big one and working our way through the rule book as the race went on. We really relied on teamwork over car speed along with an understanding the rules. What’s so special about the place like the Clipsal 500 is that it always throws up the unexpected and today was classic example of that.”

Dale Wood, #96 GB Galvanizing Nissan Altima
“Friday was probably a bigger challenge than expected. Saturday was a lot better, I felt the race pace and the ability to pass in the race was very good. Today was shame, we didn’t have the qualifying pace we needed, All-in-all, we’re leaving probably feeling a little bit disappointed. The race pace we’ve got is a positive and is just needing to get more pace out of the car in qualifying.”