INGALL FIFTH FOR CALTEX AT BAHRAIN RACE ONE Russell Ingall has led the way for the Caltex contingent during the first race of round 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Bahrain International Raceway today. Ingall's fifth placing came...
INGALL FIFTH FOR CALTEX AT BAHRAIN RACE ONE
Russell Ingall has led the way for the Caltex contingent during the first race of round 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Bahrain International Raceway today.
Ingall's fifth placing came after he obtained his best qualifying result of the year to date in the morning's three-leg session to start the opening race from grid three.
After narrowly avoiding a lap one incident which saw his fellow Caltex-backed competitors Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes exit the race prematurely, Ingall powered through the 31-lap journey avoiding any further incidents on the notoriously slippery circuit.
After pitting early in the session Ingall stormed through the pack with race-winner Mark Winterbottom, Garth Tander, Rick Kelly and James Courtney, with a battle ensuing between 'The Enforcer' and Kelly for the majority of the race.
With the strong focus on set-up Ingall and his crew maintained during yesterday's practice clearly paying off for the team of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon, the former V8 Supercar Champion was consistently strong, taking the top five spot when he passed team-mate Courtney with three laps remaining.
Courtney ran close to the front in the #4 Jeld-Wen Falcon for a large portion of the race, enjoying a number of battles with Steven Johnson and Rick Kelly punctuating his race before he eventually crossed the line in sixth position, after qualifying fifth fastest.
The lap one incident Ingall was lucky to avoid unfortunately claimed the races of the Caltex-backed Team Vodafone duo of Whincup and Lowndes, and put an end to Whincup's reign at the top of the championship standings.
With both Lowndes and Whincup qualifying lower in the order the pair were vulnerable. They were caught in a tussle for turn five with Paul Morris and Greg Murphy which sent Lowndes spearing into the safety barrier ending his race.
While Whincup managed to recover from the contact he experienced after swerving to avoid an involved car and hitting the wall, the damage caused would prove too great for his #88 Team Vodafone Falcon. He was forced to the pit area after 13 laps.
The race was won by now-four time top qualifier Mark Winterbottom, who took the win eight seconds clear of Garth Tander.
Tomorrow's final two races will kick off at 11.00am and 3.35pm local Bahrain time.
CALTEX QUOTEBOARD Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We had another good run in qualifying, the second in as many events so that is promising," said Ingall.
"We were pretty lucky to get through into the top 20 after getting a puncture in the first leg but we recovered well.
"We got a bad start in the race and that cost us. The Caltex Racing Falcon used up the rear tyres more than we would have liked.
"There are some very long corners at this circuit and you really need that rear stability.
"We need to tune the Caltex Racing Falcon up tonight. If we can find a couple of tenths then we can challenge for second place; first is another story, (Mark) Winterbottom looks to be in a different league at the moment.
"But we will keep trucking away and see what happens."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I just became a ping-pong ball in a Morris and Murphy sandwich. Unfortunately three into one doesn't go and I came out second best," said Lowndes.
"It is extremely disappointing as I got a great start and was looking forward to improving on my qualifying position."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We just missed the boat in qualifying and when you start the race that far back this is what happens," said Whincup.
"Tomorrow is a new day and with that we have another two races to get some points back."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We had a great start to the race picking up a couple of positions into the first corner but from about lap 20 the Jeld-Wen Falcon became a handful," said Courtney.
"We bent a butterfly and it kept it pushing through the corner and grabbing the front wheel. The front tyre was in pretty bad shape at the end of the race.
"Up until then I was keeping up with Tander then he just pulled away. All I could do was try and hang on to position."