Dodo Racing return to old stomping ground for Eastern Creek V8 Supercar round Last year a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway was a 'home' race for Dodo Racing but an off-season move to Melbourne means...
Dodo Racing return to old stomping ground for Eastern Creek V8 Supercar round
Last year a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway was a 'home' race for Dodo Racing but an off-season move to Melbourne means they return as visitors for round four of this year's series this weekend.
With no teams now based in Sydney, the team returns to the flowing 3.93- kilometre circuit having doubled in size, now running two cars rather than one. And they also are fresh from testing yesterday at Winton Motor Raceway, their first test day of the 2005 season.
It's that increase in information flow and setup knowledge that drivers Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup believe will help them build on the strong result Richards achieved there last year, where he finished fifth and ninth in two of the races.
Whincup, who sits 17th in points after a trying weekend at Barbagallo in Perth, feels the constant radius corners at Eastern Creek will suit his driving style more than the circuits the championship has visited in recent rounds.
"It's a long and flowing circuit and I feel quite confident about it in terms of my approach," says the 22-year-old from Melbourne.
"I had an opportunity to drive a VY Commodore there in 2003 so I'm not heading into totally unfamiliar territory there. My engineer Rob Palermo has had some good success there in the past as well so it's all pointing in the right direction.
"The approach of chipping away is inching us closer and closer to the green, so hopefully we can get the putter out soon and come up under par!
"Coming from open wheelers where you really have to carry your mid-corner speed because you don't have bucket loads of power, like you do in a V8 Supercar, will hold me in pretty good stead for being on the pace quickly at Eastern Creek.
"It's actually one of my favourite tracks, bar Bathurst. It's got a bit of everything and I find it pretty enjoyable, particularly if you're car is right on the money. I was actually happy with my performance in Perth. I had a solid round but we were just a bit unlucky with having a split tyre valve that cost us a good result. Bar that we were looking good to again pick up a solid haul of championship points."
Kiwi Richards has managed to claw back some ground in the championship and sits 20th entering Eastern Creek. An innocent victim in a crash in Adelaide and spin at Pukekohe have cost him badly but the Melbourne-based racer is keen to build on the strong results his team achieved in last year's season finale at the 'Creek.
"We had a really good car there in November last year and had our best race result all season with a fifth place in the second race," said Richards.
"Eastern Creek is a track that changes a lot between months and even days in terms of setup for whatever reason. That was why we elected to choose Oran Park as our test track last year - but we'll head back to the Creek with what we ran last year and see if it matches with the weather on the day. If not, we can tune it from there.
"Perth was promising but there's no doubt both Jamie and I have the speed in the cars to run in the top 10. You've just got to be able to match the speed with an amount of luck.
"It's very important to have a car in the races that looks after its tyres at Eastern Creek. The tyres degrade far more quickly on the surface there than in Perth so that will make the two-hour practice session on Saturday morning really important to complete a lot of setup work within."
Richards finished eighth in the final round of last year's series at Eastern Creek and has made five round starts at the Western Sydney circuit. Whincup made two starts in 2003 during his time with Garry Rogers Motorsport, finishing 13th in the season finale of that year.
The V8 Supercar teams will have a two-hour practice session on Saturday morning before qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout is held later that afternoon. Sunday will see two 140-kilometre races, each over 36 laps, to complete the fourth round of the series.
Network Ten will telecast the action from 2.30 to 5.00pm on Sunday May 29.