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Holden flaunting its V8 superiority


Holdens have won the past seven Bathurst titles, a record streak that continues to haunt Ford which has only won twice in the past 14 years.

Holden young gun Rick Kelly believes the secret of Commodore's dominance of the most coveted race title on the V8 Supercar calendar lies with the teams' preparation and race management.

The gruelling six-hour, 161-lap race is a brutal test of endurance, character, skill and restraint.

Drivers must not over exert their cars while pit crews must ensure the V8s last the distance.

This, according to two-times winner Kelly, is where Holden has emerged on top.

"(Holden) know how to prepare the car, what it takes to make it reliable and what it takes to win the race," said Kelly, who'll race with brother Todd in the No.15 Toll HSV Dealer Commodore.

"You can't go out there and thrash the car for 161 laps and expect it to last. It doesn't work that way. "

You've got to have smart teams and smart drivers behind the wheel that know how to look after the car for three quarters of the race and use it when they need to at the end.

"Ford the last few years have chewed up their tyres a fair bit and let them go in dangerous spots.

"Holden teams do the job well at Bathurst and it shows."

Five-times and defending Bathurst champion Mark Skaife said Holden had simply been the most consistent manufacturer on the mountain.

"It's been an incredible run so far and I certainly hope it continues," said Skaife, who'll drive with Garth Tander in the No.2 HRT Commodore this year.

"It proves that the Holden teams have done a consistently good job over that period of time."

The last Ford victory at Bathurst was Jason Bright and Steven Richards in 1998.

Richards will race with Holden, in the No.7 Jack Daniel's Commodore this weekend, but Bright, after his own stint with the Red team, is back to try and win the title for Ford.

Bright combined with young teammate Mark Winterbottom to win the Sandown 500 in the CAT FPR Falcon and has vowed to end Ford's Bathurst drought.

"We are putting every effort into winning this race," said Bright.

"Every single area of our team is working with the sole aim of ensuring that everything is in place to give FPR the best shot at winning at Mount Panorama.

"Nothing could please me more than to be both the last and the next driver to win the Bathurst 1000 for Ford."

Last year nobody would have considered Ford Performance Racing any shot at winning - Bright finished 14th with then teammate David Brabham.

But FPR have emerged as genuine contenders in 2006.

Winterbottom, 23, is a series title contender in third position and the pair's Sandown 500 victory was the Ford factory team's maiden V8 round win.

While mechanical, brake and tyre problems have caused headaches at FPR in recent years, Bright believes it is Winterbottom's title aspirations that may cause the most tension for the team this weekend.

A failure to finish would likely end his title dreams.

"We could potentially sacrifice a lot, or we could get the perpetual Peter Brock Trophy, a sterling silver monument valued at $75,000.

But while the winners will take Brocky's trophy, Kelly says they'll never take his title.

"He was the King of the Mountain ... I don't think you'll see that record broken."

AAP

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