LOWNDES CHARGES HARD AT ORAN PARK Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes was the hard charger during the opening race of the Jim Beam 400, round eight of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway today. After struggling with...
LOWNDES CHARGES HARD AT ORAN PARK
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes was the hard charger during the opening race of the Jim Beam 400, round eight of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway today.
After struggling with setup issues during qualifying, Lowndes surged ahead right from the start of this afternoon's first race to move from his original position of 23rd to finish an impressive seventh.
Meanwhile, Lowndes' Team Vodafone team-mate Jamie Whincup was streaking ahead to come home in third position when the chequered flag fell despite battling the flu.
Escaping the issues which plagued his team-mate in qualifying, Whincup went on to reach the final leg to be placed ninth on the grid for the opening race, from where he ran as high as second during the 46 laps that followed.
Not enjoying the same fortune was Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall, who qualified just outside the top ten and had already moved up a number of positions during the opening circulation before he was sidelined with a mechanical failure.
After retiring to the pit area at the end of the opening lap it was discovered the watts linkage had broken on the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon which forced the 2005 Oran Park round winner to watch the remainder of the race on the sidelines.
Ingall's team-mate James Courtney was also in the thick of the action during today's opening race. After qualifying outside the top 20 he was moving up the order and was on track to add to his championship points tally before he was spun from behind on lap 12, negating his earlier moves. After recovering from this unfortunate incident Courtney came to cross the line 19th.
Tomorrow's V8 Supercar action kicks off at 10.40am with the final race scheduled to begin at 1.40pm.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "I was racing side by side with (Jason) Bright into turn two. I didn't think the rubbing was anything too serious and we sorted it out and got up over the bridge," said Ingall.
"But when I got to the first left-hander, something broke in the rear and that was the end of it.
"It's disappointing to be sidelined by a mechanical failure as we had picked up a bit from yesterday and found a little extra.
"Looking for a positive side, I've got some good tyres for tomorrow!"
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The car was just fantastic this afternoon and came together really well, we were well down in the order and it was quick enough to pick off about half the field!" said Lowndes.
"It was flowing very well through the busy corners and the tyres retained their grip throughout the race.
"It's been a positive finish to what was looking to be a very bleak day, I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and we will be aiming to get both TeamVodafone Falcons onto the podium this time."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The car was great in qualifying, and it was a relief to make it into the top 10 considering the way I was feeling," explained Whincup.
"The race really took it out of me and I am rapt with the result, I dropped the tyres off into the dirt a few times and was finding it very hard to maintain complete concentration.
"As it has been all year, my car was very easy on the tyres, which made the job a little easier.
"Inertia carried me through and up the inside of Rick, we decided to redress the move pretty quickly in case the stewards viewed it as illegal under the safety car and yellow flags.
"I'm interested as to the position of the stewards in such a situation so I'll be sure to have a chat with them later on."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "Everyone was pretty excited today, with the new car. We were keen to put fresh tyres on and get out there but first lap out in qualifying we lost power in the car," said Courtney.
"I rolled into the pits and the guys spent nearly the whole of the first leg trying to work out the problem.
"We would have loved for that to happen yesterday in practice when you get a chance to iron out those little problems but unfortunately that is the way it goes sometimes.
"In the race we got off the line pretty well and kept with Craig (Lowndes) as we picked our way through to about 13th.
"At the restart after the safety car I got past Steve (Johnson) then next corner I got drilled from behind. The rear wheels were right up in the air; it made me do an 'endo', a bit like when you grab too much front brake on your bike.
"We had a bit of damage in the rear and maybe a little damage to the watts linkage but we managed to do some good times and pass a few guys.
"We started 22nd and ended up 19th so if there is any consolation, at least we went forward."