Nissan's Supercars call a relief: Kelly

Oliver Caffrey
Rick Kelly has declared Nissan's decision to pull out of Supercars as a relief for his team

Nissan's decision to pull the plug from the Supercars Championship has come as a relief to Kelly Racing.

It looked every bit that way in Friday's practice for the Winton Supersprint, as Michael Caruso and Rick Kelly finished one-two.

The Japanese brand announced on Tuesday it was calling time on backing Kelly Racing after six years.

Team co-owner Todd Kelly was defiant after the decision, declaring they would be driving Altimas next year regardless.

Nissan's call to pull support is more like a sponsorship loss rather than anything catastrophic, but the effect has still been felt.

Rick Kelly backed his older brother's sentiment after his impressive drive in the second Winton practice session, saying Nissan's call was a good thing.

"I think, within the guys and girls that work in the team, everyone is relieved to know the future," Kelly said.

"It's a good thing for everyone to know the direction we're going in and the guys have faith in the team to do the job."

Caruso and Rick Kelly's early form ahead of the sixth round of the season is remarkable, given the events of the week and with them sitting 17th and 13th respectively in the championship standings.

Brad Jones Racing's Nick Percat (11th) joined them in Friday's top three in his Holden Commodore.

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin struggled to 15th in the second practice session after finishing fifth in the morning run.

"The race run showed that the car will be really good on its tyres and, at the end there, we did a pretty decent time on some old tyres," McLaughlin said.

The Ford ace is chasing a fifth-straight race victory after claiming double wins on Phillip Island and in Perth.

The last driver to do that was Jamie Whincup in 2008 when he went on to win seven on the trot.

Red Bull Holden's Whincup was impressive in the first session to finish third behind Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert, but slumped to 16th in the afternoon.

A stomach bug meant Mobil 1's James Courtney was unable to take part in practice, as Jack Perkins stepped into the 37-year-old's Commodore.

But Courtney is expected to be well enough for qualifying and the weekend's racing.

Qualifying on Saturday begins at 12:40pm, while the 40-lap opening race starts at 3:50pm.