Bahrain: Caltex Racing Thursday report

LOWNDES LEADS CALTEX DRIVERS ON OPENING DAY IN BAHRAIN Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has led a solid start for Caltex drivers in practice for this weekend's Desert 400 at the Bahrain International Circuit today. All Caltex supported Falcons...

LOWNDES LEADS CALTEX DRIVERS ON OPENING DAY IN BAHRAIN

Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has led a solid start for Caltex drivers in practice for this weekend's Desert 400 at the Bahrain International Circuit today.

All Caltex supported Falcons finished today's 135-minute practice session in the top 15, with Lowndes the highest placed in sixth position.

Lowndes, who is currently second in this year's championship, completed 29 laps of the Bahrain venue in his Team Betta Electrical Falcon on his way to a 1m24.7532s lap time, 0.7 seconds behind the fastest time of the day, set by fellow Ford driver Jason Bright.

Jeld-Wen Motorsport driver James Courtney was one position behind Lowndes in seventh position, completing 38 laps around the 3.6-kilometre circuit.

Jamie Whincup showed that the Triple Eight Falcon that he began the season in is still a car to be reckoned with, posting the 11th fastest time and completing 40 laps.

Also completing 40 laps was defending V8 Supercar Champion Russell Ingall, who ended the session 15th fastest in the Caltex Racing Falcon.

Ingall posted a top 10 time late in the session but was bumped down the order in the latter stages of practice, which marked the first time the V8 Supercars have taken to the newest venue in the championship.

Jason Bright topped today's practice ahead of Garth Tander and Mark Winterbottom.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD

Russell Ingall -- #1 Caltex Racing Falcon

"We took a while to get a feel for the circuit today and spent a lot of time getting the car right," said Ingall.

"We put in a time when we had to that got us up towards the pointy end. Most importantly we will be in the top 50 percent session tomorrow, which we know is essential from past experience.

"We have some more work to do to be on the pace of the front runners but the Caltex crew are on the case."

Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Betta Electrical Falcon

"This circuit is quite amazing, it is very smooth and has quite a lot of grip and our car is very good through turn 4, 5 and 6, which is the flowing part of the circuit," said Lowndes.

"I had a great first session but unfortunately we did lose a lot of set-up time in the second session while the team changed a front rocker and pull rod. Once we got out there Garth (Tander) was the only driver to go quicker that us during that time.

"We have a bit of work to do as the car as it is still hard on brakes, it is good for one lap but for the race we will have to work on the rear of the car as we have quite a bit of oversteer, which could make 37 laps interesting if we don't get on top of it.

"We will definitely have to look after the rear tyres, they are good for a few laps then drop off quickly before finding their consistency."

Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Betta Electrical Falcon

"This is a fantastic facility," said Whincup.

"The track is surprisingly clean with good tight corners and excellent fast corners.

"Today was about experimenting with qualifying set-ups and with getting new tyres for practice, we were able to have a decent learning session.

"We don't quite have the desired speed we are looking for but as always we are predicting a very fast race car."

James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon

"Everything went pretty well for the first time here," said Courtney.

"We definitely have areas we need to work on. The top 10 is where we wanted to be after the first run but we have to make sure we improve tomorrow.

"I've raced on quite a few circuits that have been designed by this guy (Hermann Tilke) so you do get used to the way he likes to put things together. There is nothing that's too surprising here but tyre life is going to be the key.

"We've been getting stronger and stronger every round so I think we're in with a good shot here."

-credit: caltex racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom