WHINCUP LEADS CALTEX CHARGE WITH EASTERN CREEK PODIUM Caltex drivers have enjoyed a successful weekend at Round 5 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with Jamie Whincup leading the charge by claiming Team Vodafone's third successive podium...
WHINCUP LEADS CALTEX CHARGE WITH EASTERN CREEK PODIUM
Caltex drivers have enjoyed a successful weekend at Round 5 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with Jamie Whincup leading the charge by claiming Team Vodafone's third successive podium at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney today.
Whincup drove his Caltex-backed #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon to third overall at the 3.93-kilometre circuit to retain third in the V8 Supercar Championship Series standings.
The 2006 Bathurst winner was third in today's Race 2 and fourth in the third and final race to edge closer to series leader Rick Kelly in the series standings.
Whincup's Triple Eight Race Engineering team-mate Craig Lowndes was dfifth overall for Round 5, recovering from a below-par qualifying result of 16th to be within reach of the race win in Race 3 today.
Lowndes monstered the back of leader Todd Kelly over the final laps but was unable to find a way past, highlighting the improved speed of the Caltex-backed #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon in recent rounds.
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall had a strong and consistent weekend to finish 10th overall for the round and retain his place in the top 10 in the championship standings.
Ingall was 12th in Race 2 earlier today and 13th in Race 3, despite losing several positions in the final race of the day as a result of contact with Steven Richards exiting Turn 2.
James Courtney staged a strong comeback over today's two races after electrical problems in yesterday's opening race.
Courtney drove the #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon to 14th position in Race 2 and then made further improvement to climb to ninth.
Courtney sits in eighth in the championships standings, with all four Caltex-backed Ford Falcons remaining in the top 10 in the series points score.
Mark Skaife won this weekend's round ahead of team-mate Todd Kelly and Whincup, with Rick Kelly maintaining his championship lead after five rounds.
Russell Ingall -- #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon
"We're there roundabout but we're not happy to just circulate around in tenth or eleventh; I'd much rather be at the pointy end giving the guys up there some curry," said Ingall.
"We had a bit of car speed this weekend but some of our strategy didn't come off for us.
"Eastern Creek is a difficult circuit to pass on even though it is fast and flowing; it's very much one line. We didn't make many inroads today.
"We're disappointed that we couldn't build on the progress from yesterday.
"On a positive note, we grabbed some points from a tough weekend to maintain ninth position in the championship."
Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"I got two great starts today which really helped me make up positions," said Lowndes.
"We made some minor adjustments between Races 2 and 3 and they certainly paid off, our car had great cold tyre speed in the tricky Race 3 conditions.
"I had a great battle in the final race but Todd made no mistakes and I wasn't able to force the issue.
"Personally I am delighted with the car speed, the team has been working hard to makeup the deficit to the Holdens and we believe we have been able to achieve that."
Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"This weekend consistency was the key," said Whincup.
"I am very comfortable that we are on track in terms of progress which is obvious by our results over the past three rounds.
"I am very happy to just be out there doing the job that I am expected to do.
"With the tracks that are coming up on the calendar I am looking forward to proving that our progress is ongoing."
James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon
"It's been quite a big weekend for us being the first time I've raced here," said Courtney.
"Starting from the rear of the grid today was tough but it was a good effort from the guys to finish up in ninth at the end of race three.
"The speed of the Jeld-Wen Falcon was pretty good.
"I had to be a bit rough with a few of the guys on track in race two to get past. It's not an easy track to pass on but we got through the field without too many dramas.
"We ran long in race three which worked for us. I knew I had to make a good pit entry for that final stop to gain the maximum number of places and I came in a bit hard and locked it up at pit entry.
"As it turns out, changing four tyres didn't make any difference to our position."