Hidden Valley: Team Betta Sunday report

TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR LOWNDES AND ELLERY Team Betta Electrical drivers Craig Lowndes and Steve Ellery had their work cut out for them at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway today with both drivers spending time at the back of the thirty-four...

TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR LOWNDES AND ELLERY

Team Betta Electrical drivers Craig Lowndes and Steve Ellery had their work cut out for them at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway today with both drivers spending time at the back of the thirty-four car field.

While Lowndes started from third on the grid in the first of two races today he was beaten off the start by Marcos Ambrose then endured a lengthy pit stop after a problem with the car's air spike prevented the car from lifting as quick as it should have.

The stop cost him valuable track position and after exiting pit lane entered turn one alongside Russell Ingall and with limited cornering space made contact with Ingall losing traction and sliding off the edge of the track.

The incident cased one of the bolts holding the watts linkage to shear requiring an additional visit to the pits and cost Lowndes an additional four laps.

During the Lowndes pit visit, Steve Ellery was strategically working his way through the field from twenty-eight position claiming fifteen spots to finish thirteenth.

The race was eventually won by Todd Kelly ahead of Mark Skaife and Garth Tander.

In the final 48 lap race Lowndes started from the rear of the grid and jumped a number of spots during the early compulsory tyre stop exiting pit lane right behind Marcos Ambrose.

In what was a race that was largely a procession with very little overtaking, Craig and Ambrose showed the most aggression continually pushing Jason Bright to pick up the pace.

Both Team Betta Electrical drivers finished inside the top ten, Ellery storming through to take sixth place while Lowndes clawed back a remarkable twenty-four places to finish tenth.

Lowndes said without starting to sound like a broken record chasing from the rear of the field was not the ideal way to try and win a race however three significant points should be noted from this weekend.

"1. Our cars have got consistent speed from the moment they are pulled out of the truck," Lowndes said.

"2. Our car setups are continually being refined but I am confident we are getting closer and closer to optimal suspension settings earlier in practice

"3. Both Steve and I drove as a team today when one was pushed back the other stepped forward to the plate and positioned the team up with the front runners.

"And a fourth and very personal point, I suspect Marcos might have a very sore neck tonight from looking in his rear view mirror!" Lowndes added.

Steve Ellery was relieved to finally put together a solid race result.

"I am very happy with today's results," Ellery said. "We managed to have a good race this morning and finish thirteenth after starting from the back of the field which really set us up for the second race.

"In the second race today the team gave me a fantastic pit stop and we jumped quite a few in the pits

"The car was great in the end and my race three result was a good confidence builder ahead of the next round at Queensland Raceway.

The final race of the day was won by Garth Tander from Todd Kelly and sibling Rick Kelly. Todd Kelly claimed the round victory with Garth Tander second and Rick Kelly third.

Following today's racing an inquiry by the race stewards found Lowndes guilty of a driving infringement and he was put back to eleventh in the third race of the day.

The V8 Supercar Championship Series will head to Queensland Raceway at Willowbank for the seventh round of the series July 22-24.

-tbe-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Todd Kelly