Whincup tops practice and sets new Yas Marina lap record
TeamVodafone has made an emphatic start to their 2011 V8 Supercar Championship campaign in the Middle East with Jamie Whincup posting the fastest lap time in practice while teammate Craig Lowndes followed with the third quickest time.
Whincup not only set the fastest lap, he also smashed the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit's V8 Supercar lap record, with a time of 1m57.0160s in the same car he used to win the Yas V8 400 last year.
Lowndes and Whincup used their two, 30 minute practice sessions to run their Holden Commodores through a number of setups on the controversial 'soft compound' tyre in order to find optimal performance on the high grip circuit ahead of tonights 200km race.
While it's early days, the team couldn't have asked for a more positive start to the new season. The practice results adding to the Yas Marina ambience where Jamie Whincup will celebrate his 100th V8 Supercar Championship Series event.
"Confidence is the key," Whincup said about a strong season opener. "Everyone wants to get off to a good start even thought it's not the be all and end all, last year was proof of that."
"I am celebrating my 100th race weekend but it is a weird feeling. In some way I only feel like I am relatively fresh in this category, but in another way I feel like I have been battling for years.
"I live for the victories and the hard battles with my mates on the track," he added.
Qualifying for tomorrow's first race of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship will be held at 3.15pm (9.15pm AEST), followed by the race at 6.20pm (12.20am AEST).
-source: practice report