Bahrain: Caltex Racing Teams Saturday notes

COURTNEY FINISHES SECOND FOR CALTEX IN BAHRAIN James Courtney has led the way for the Caltex-backed drivers by finishing second overall in the Desert 400, round 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at the Bahrain International Circuit ...

COURTNEY FINISHES SECOND FOR CALTEX IN BAHRAIN

James Courtney has led the way for the Caltex-backed drivers by finishing second overall in the Desert 400, round 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at the Bahrain International Circuit today.

Finishing second in both of today's 31 lap sprints, Courtney was quick off the start in the final journey to lead for the majority of the race before succumbing to fellow Caltex driver and eventual winner Craig Lowndes.

Lowndes' race three victory was testament to the great pace he carried in the face of yesterday's horror qualifying and opening race, which saw his race ended prematurely due to a lap one incident after he qualified lower in the order.

With all that forgotten today, Lowndes showed lightening speed to move up the field from a starting position of 30th to be placed fifth in today's opening race before following up with the win to claim sixth overall for the round.

Just behind Lowndes in the round points was fellow Caltex ambassador Russell Ingall, claiming seventh by finishing eighth and seventh in today's two races.

It could have all gone awry in race two for the pilot of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon, with the Holdens of Rick Kelly and Garth Tander coming together just ahead of the former V8 Supercar Champion in the opening laps.

After managing to skilfully drive around this incident safely, Ingall set to work at moving forward through the pack over the following laps.

The final race was incident free for Ingall aboard the Caltex Racing Falcon as he maintained his position inside the top ten to cross the line in seventh position.

While Lowndes was able to come back from yesterday's trials and tribulations, it was not to be the case for his Caltex-backed Team Vodafone team-mate Jamie Whincup.

After also exiting yesterday's race due to the lap one incident, race two saw Whincup begin to move back through the field with promising pace before contact with Alan Gurr saw him drop back down the order.

Heading out for the final, the pilot of the #88 Bathurst-winning Team Vodafone Falcon again began to make way through the pack, before a unsafe release in pit lane saw the team served with a drive-through penalty.

From there the driver who headed to Bahrain leading the championship fought back bravely over the closing laps, torturously finishing just one position out of the points in 16th.

With this weekend's races now run and won and two rounds remaining in the championship, Lowndes remains at second in the championship standings while Whincup moves to third, Courtney jumps from 11th to eighth and Ingall remains in ninth position.

Ingall's result today importantly sees him further establish his place inside the top ten of the championship to move closer to continuing his trend of consecutive championship finishes inside the top ten throughout his series' involvement.

The Desert 400 was won by Mark Winterbottom, who placed third in today's final after winning the opening two races.

The V8 Supercar Championship Series will now travel to Tasmania's Symmons Plains for round thirteen, to be held over November 16-18.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "I battled around the bottom half of the top ten for the majority of the weekend but wasn't able to make any real movement further forward than that," said Ingall.

"It is good to be able to get some points and continue some momentum towards the end of the season. I'm continuing to consolidate my position inside the top ten, which is pleasing, but I'll be aiming for the podium at Symmons Plains and Phillip Island.

"While this place has undoubtedly got the best facilities in the entire championship, the same can't be said for the track surface - it is very coarse and abrasive which made life difficult for everyone this weekend."

Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The guys did a great job overnight to repair the car, and it was very pleasing to be able to reward them with a victory in the final race," said Lowndes.

"The charge through the field in race two was made that little bit easier when some of the other drivers had their own incidents to deal with.

"It was a real up and down weekend for the team with yesterday's incident, so it has been great to have the race three win for the guys who have been working so hard."

Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am confused and shattered about what has happened over this weekend," said Whincup.

"We qualified bad and were back in the pack, vulnerable to incidents, which is what happened and ruined our first race.

"During race two and three we were also involved in incidents, we seemed to go up and down the field like a yo-yo.

"We now need to regroup from here and look towards Tasmania and Phillip Island."

James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The car was really good out there today, and it was great to come home second," said Courtney.

"We now have had a podium every round since Bathurst, so it has been a strong end of the year for the team.

"We were right up there in today's final race and Craig was just so quick and was able to get me at the end there, but second overall is a great result for the team."

-credit: caltex/bammedia.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Alan Gurr , Phillip Island