Murphy Dominant at Pukekohe

Greg Murphy once again showed he is 'the man' at Pukekohe by winning all three V8 Supercar races to take his fourth round victory at the circuit in five years

Murphy Dominant at Pukekohe

Murphy was dominant in all three races to take the overall win ahead of Russell Ingall who finished second in all three races. The winners of the last five series titles between them, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife, had good results in all three races to finish equal third overall. These results allowed Ambrose to keep the points lead, 42 points ahead of teammate Ingall, with Paul Weel a surprise third 87 points behind Ambrose just ahead of Murphy and Craig Lowndes.

Race one saw front row starters Lowndes and Ambrose make contact through the first series of turns, Lowndes spinning and falling to the back. Greg Murphy took advantage of this to move up to second. Later contact between Ambrose and Steven Richards at the hairpin put Ambrose into a spin and Richards into the pits with damage.

This meant Murphy was the leader when all of the stops were over, taking the win ahead of Ingall, Mark Skaife, Steve Ellery with Ambrose recovering to fifth place. Lowndes finished fourteenth while Steven Richards ended up 28th having earlier battled for the lead.

At the start of race two Ingall made a great start to lead Murphy into turn one, but lap five saw Murphy dive to the inside at the hairpin and take back the lead. Skaife temporarily passed Ingall a few laps later but as he moved past he locked his brakes and spun, costing him time.

The race was under safety car conditions soon afterwards on lap 20 when contact between Brad Jones and his nephew Andrew Jones resulted in Brad Jones spinning broadside across the grass near pit entry and hitting the tyre barrier, the car rolling. Chaos erupted under the safety car conditions when Todd Kelly, still at speed, ran up onto a group of cars who had slowed. Kelly braked but still slammed into the back of an already limping Paul Morris. Meanwhile Jones was unscathed and was able to take part in race three.

The race got back to green on lap 25, Murphy leading Ambrose who had snuck ahead of Ingall during the pit stop shuffle before the safety car. Ambrose initially closed in on Murphy before fading as the laps wore on, his teammate Ingall passing him and in the closing laps Ingall closed on Murphy. However, he wasn't close enough and Murphy made it two from two ahead of Ingall, Ambrose, Skaife and Lowndes who continued his charge back up the order.

Murphy won the start in race three ahead of Ingall, while just behind them Lowndes and Ambrose went side by side through turn one, this time Ambrose losing out, falling to sixth. A bogged David Besnard eventually brought out the safety car, although officials were slow to make the decision despite Besnard's car having two flat tyres and being stuck in the sand. Between Besnard's incident and the safety car being deployed, there was contact between Jamie Whincup and Jason Bargwanna which ended when Bargwanna's car turned left all by itself down the back straight.

The race restarted on lap 23 but was red flagged less than ten laps later when light rain caused chaos. Coming onto the main straight, Jamie Whincup got onto the grass. As he rejoined the track Craig Baird moved across to avoid Whincup but in doing so put Paul Dumbrell into the inside armco, Baird and Dumbrell's cars destroyed as they were sent spinning. Everyone else somehow escaped, except for Cameron McConville who suffered damage to the front of his car.

The race restarted behind the safety car, the track now wet while the ambient light was quickly fading. The big losers were Triple Eight Racing, whose cars were running fourth for Lowndes and seventh for Ellery before the red flag. When the cars moved off from the grid, Lowndes and Ellery both remained stationary. Ellery's car eventually fired up but Lowndes's day was over, the car refusing to start.

In the fading light Murphy did as he had done earlier, leading safely to make it three wins from three races, Ingall taking his third second placing as well, Steven Richards third ahead of first race combatant Marcos Ambrose with Mark Skaife in fifth.

Results of The PlaceMakers V8 International, Pukekohe Park Raceway:

Race One

Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Greg Murphy         Holden Commodore VZ
 2.  Russell Ingall      Ford Falcon BA
 3.  Mark Skaife         Holden Commodore VZ
 4.  Steve Ellery        Ford Falcon BA
 5.  Marcos Ambrose      Ford Falcon BA
 6.  Paul Radisich       Holden Commodore VZ
 7.  Jason Bright        Ford Falcon BA
 8.  Todd Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ
 9.  Paul Morris         Holden Commodore VZ
10.  Jamie Whincup       Holden Commodore VZ
11.  Paul Weel           Holden Commodore VZ
12.  John Bowe           Ford Falcon BA
13.  Steven Johnson      Ford Falcon BA
14.  Craig Lowndes       Ford Falcon BA
15.  Max Wilson          Holden Commodore VZ
16.  Rick Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ
17.  Garth Tander        Holden Commodore VZ
18.  Jason Richards      Holden Commodore VZ
19.  Greg Ritter         Ford Falcon BA
20.  Glenn Seton         Ford Falcon BA
21.  Cameron McConville  Holden Commodore VZ
22.  Brad Jones          Ford Falcon BA
23.  Anthony Tratt       Holden Commodore VY
24.  Mark Winterbottom   Ford Falcon BA
25.  Matthew White       Ford Falcon BA
26.  Paul Dumbrell       Holden Commodore VY
27.  Andrew Jones        Holden Commodore VZ
28.  Steven Richards     Holden Commodore VY
29.  David Besnard       Ford Falcon BA
30.  Simon Wills         Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Craig Baird         Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Jason Bargwanna     Ford Falcon BA

Race Two

Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Greg Murphy         Holden Commodore VZ
 2.  Russell Ingall      Ford Falcon BA
 3.  Marcos Ambrose      Ford Falcon BA
 4.  Mark Skaife         Holden Commodore VZ
 5.  Craig Lowndes       Ford Falcon BA
 6.  Paul Radisich       Holden Commodore VZ
 7.  Steve Ellery        Ford Falcon BA
 8.  Steven Richards     Holden Commodore VY
 9.  Paul Weel           Holden Commodore VZ
10.  John Bowe           Ford Falcon BA
11.  Jason Bright        Ford Falcon BA
12.  Craig Baird         Ford Falcon BA
13.  Glenn Seton         Ford Falcon BA
14.  Jason Bargwanna     Ford Falcon BA
15.  Max Wilson          Holden Commodore VZ
16.  Paul Dumbrell       Holden Commodore VY
17.  Simon Wills         Holden Commodore VZ
18.  Cameron McConville  Holden Commodore VZ
19.  Paul Morris         Holden Commodore VZ
20.  Garth Tander        Holden Commodore VZ
21.  Andrew Jones        Holden Commodore VZ
22.  Mark Winterbottom   Ford Falcon BA
23.  Anthony Tratt       Holden Commodore VY
24.  Greg Ritter         Ford Falcon BA
25.  Matthew White       Ford Falcon BA
26.  Steven Johnson      Ford Falcon BA
27.  David Besnard       Ford Falcon BA
28.  Jamie Whincup       Holden Commodore VZ
29.  Jason Richards      Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Todd Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Brad Jones          Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Rick Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ

Race Three

Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Greg Murphy         Holden Commodore VZ
 2.  Russell Ingall      Ford Falcon BA
 3.  Steven Richards     Holden Commodore VY
 4.  Marcos Ambrose      Ford Falcon BA
 5.  Mark Skaife         Holden Commodore VZ
 6.  Paul Radisich       Holden Commodore VZ
 7.  Jason Bright        Ford Falcon BA
 8.  John Bowe           Ford Falcon BA
 9.  Garth Tander        Holden Commodore VZ
10.  Paul Weel           Holden Commodore VZ
11.  Jamie Whincup       Holden Commodore VZ
12.  Glenn Seton         Ford Falcon BA
13.  Todd Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ
14.  Jason Richards      Holden Commodore VZ
15.  Rick Kelly          Holden Commodore VZ
16.  Paul Morris         Holden Commodore VZ
17.  Mark Winterbottom   Ford Falcon BA
18.  Anthony Tratt       Holden Commodore VY
19.  Andrew Jones        Holden Commodore VZ
20.  Brad Jones          Ford Falcon BA
21.  Greg Ritter         Ford Falcon BA
22.  Steve Ellery        Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Matthew White       Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Craig Lowndes       Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Craig Baird         Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Paul Dumbrell       Holden Commodore VY
DNF  Cameron McConville  Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Max Wilson          Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Simon Wills         Holden Commodore VZ
DNF  Jason Bargwanna     Ford Falcon BA
DNF  David Besnard       Ford Falcon BA
DNF  Steven Johnson      Ford Falcon BA

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