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Rick Kelly wins wet Sandown V8 Supercar race as Craig Lowndes closes on Jamie Whincup in points

Rick Kelly took victory in the wet in the first of this weekend's Sandown V8 Supercar races, as points leader Jamie Whincup tumbled back to 13th place and lost ground to title rival Craig Lowndes

That championship twist had looked highly unlikely after qualifying, when Whincup had joined Kelly on the front row and his Triple Eight Holden team-mate Lowndes had struggled to 27th.

But while Whincup quickly recovered from fourth to second following a slow start, as the race progressed he steadily lost ground - dropping back at restarts particularly in an event that featured three safety car interruptions, and admitting that the ever-worsening conditions had made him very uneasy.

By the end he was down to 13th, whereas Lowndes made relentless progress up the order and got into sixth by the finish. They are now 158 points apart in the standings.

At the front, Kelly was always in control, staying sufficiently clear of James Courtney as the Holden Racing Team driver gained pace in the second half of the race, and eventually winning by four seconds despite two late safety cars bunching the field up again.

To complete a great day for the Kelly family and their team, Rick's brother Todd battled past Will Davison (Ford Performance Racing) to secure third on the final lap, with Shane van Gisbergen taking fifth for Stone Brothers Ford.

Results - 37 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                Time/Gap
 1.  Rick Kelly           Kelly Holden         58m57.5869s
 2.  James Courtney       HRT Holden             + 3.7225s
 3.  Todd Kelly           Kelly Holden           + 4.4068s
 4.  Will Davison         FPR Ford               + 4.8955s
 5.  Shane van Gisbergen  Stone Brothers Ford    + 5.8200s
 6.  Craig Lowndes        Triple Eight Holden    + 6.3721s
 7.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford               + 7.4869s
 8.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden             + 9.8719s
 9.  Fabian Coulthard     Walkinshaw Holden      + 9.9133s
10.  Steve Owen           Paul Morris Holden    + 13.0046s
11.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Ford            + 14.9376s
12.  Paul Dumbrell        Rod Nash/FPR Ford     + 15.0599s
13.  Jamie Whincup        Triple Eight Holden   + 15.6764s
14.  Russell Ingall       Paul Morris Holden    + 15.8810s
15.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/FPR Ford    + 17.7658s
16.  Alex Davison         Stone Brothers Ford   + 20.0634s
17.  Lee Holdsworth       Garry Rogers Holden   + 21.1659s
18.  David Reynolds       Kelly Holden          + 23.5031s
19.  Andrew Jones         Brad Jones Holden     + 23.5471s
20.  Karl Reindler        Britek Holden         + 25.6118s
21.  Michael Caruso       Garry Rogers Holden   + 27.8088s
22.  Warren Luff          Dumbrell Holden       + 32.6220s
23.  Steven Johnson       Dick Johnson Ford        + 1 lap

Retirements:

     James Moffat         Dick Johnson Ford        33 laps
     Dean Fiore           Triple F Ford            33 laps
     Jason Bargwanna      Brad Jones Holden        28 laps
     Greg Murphy          Kelly Holden             20 laps
     Tony D'Alberto       D'Alberto Ford           11 laps

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