Hidden Valley: Caltex Racing Friday report

INGALL FOURTH FASTEST IN HIDDEN VALLEY PRACTICE Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has shown impressive speed during opening practice for this weekend's Skycity Triple Crown, round six of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Hidden Valley...

INGALL FOURTH FASTEST IN HIDDEN VALLEY PRACTICE

Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has shown impressive speed during opening practice for this weekend's Skycity Triple Crown, round six of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin today.

Ingall, who won the first round held at the circuit in 1998, overcame some mechanical issues early in the session to work his way towards the top of the timesheets during the 2 ½ hour, limited lap, practice session and finish with the fourth fastest time.

The former series champion's time of 1:09.6126 around the 2.9km Hidden Valley circuit was a mere 0.35 seconds behind the fastest time set by rival Mark Skaife.

Ingall ended the day by taking Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin for a hot lap around the Hidden Valley track in his Caltex Falcon.

Ingall's young team-mate James Courtney had an drama-filled day when he endured a high-speed accident which left his Jeld-Wen Falcon upside down and major panel damage. Courtney escaped injury, however his team has a major repair job to ensure the car makes it onto the track for qualifying tomorrow.

Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes became the unsung hero of the day after he assisted Courtney out of his Falcon. Ironically the TeamVodafone driver had spent Wednesday with a group of local indigenous children where he talked about the camaraderie between the V8 Supercar drivers, and his famous Calder Park rollover.

Lowndes, who is the defending round champion, went on to record the ninth fastest time of the day aboard his Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon.

Lowndes' team-mate, Jamie Whincup recorded the 17th fastest time of the day in the #88 Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon.

Qualifying will be held tomorrow at 11:30am followed by the opening 42-lap race in the afternoon. A pair of 42-lap races will be contested on Sunday.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD

Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We didn't get as many laps in as we would have liked. We had a few dramas in the session with brakes and a starter motor going on the car," said Ingall.

"Once we got those sorted we had to shortcut a few other things.

"It leaves us guessing a little bit tomorrow. Do we play it safe and see if we are quick enough tomorrow or take the risk, make some changes and possibly go slower?

"At the moment the Caltex Racing Falcon is pretty good; I don't think it's good enough to be fastest but it's quick enough to be in the top five.

"It's a bit of a question mark but that's not my decision, I'll leave that to the experts and we'll take it from there tomorrow."

Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The first set of tyres today weren't as good as we had hoped and despite making a number of changes we kept coming back to our base setup, which prompted us to go to our second set of practice tyres earlier than planned," said Lowndes.

"Our final set of tyres gave us the grip level we were looking for and the car balance wasn't too far away. We continued to make more changes to the car and I was quite happy with it towards the end."

Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We didn't show our true potential today due to a bad run on our better set of tyres," Whincup said. "We also need to make a few more chassis adjustments if we are to match our rivals," said Whincup.

"We are not too disappointed as we know the car is a lot better than it looks on the timesheets and pay day is tomorrow."

James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The Jeld-Wen Falcon was running well today until the roll over," said Courtney.

"It wasn't a big impact. It was a long spin and I washed most of the speed off spinning on the track before I got to the dirt.

"But there is not much run off there at turn eight and I just dug into the tyres and bounced over.

"It was a pretty pathetic effort for a roll over really.

"It's disappointing to miss out on the rest of the session but the damage doesn't look too bad. I could have driven it back if it landed on its wheels.

"We'll get some new panels on it, kick the roof out and get back out there tomorrow."

-credit: cr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup