CALTEX DRIVERS IN THE TOP DOZEN AT ORAN PARK All four Caltex V8 Supercar drivers have improved on their starting position and all came home in the top dozen in today's opening race of Round 7 of V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Oran...
CALTEX DRIVERS IN THE TOP DOZEN AT ORAN PARK
All four Caltex V8 Supercar drivers have improved on their starting position and all came home in the top dozen in today's opening race of Round 7 of V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway today.
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes pushed race winner Todd Kelly all the way to finish second in the opening race in his Team Betta Electrical Falcon. Lowndes got off to a poor start from third on the grid but was quick to recover in his Caltex-backed mount, even drawing alongside Kelly in the late stages before eventually settling for second.
Lowndes's Team Betta Electrical team-mate Jamie Whincup drove his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon to fifth place, making it two top five finishes for the Caltex lubricated Triple Eight squad. Whincup, who started from ninth on the grid, battled with old Formula Ford rival Mark Winterbotton and former team-mate Jason Richards in the late stages of the race, beating both home in the end after some hard racing.
V8 Supercar rookie James Courtney finished a solid ninth after starting from 12th in today's race. The Jeld-Wen Motorsport driver continued his improvement, coming off the back of a strong performance at the Queensland Raceway round last month.
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall made a huge improvement in today's race after a difficult qualifying session this morning. The defending V8 Supercar Champion was forced to qualify in the earlier session this morning as a result of finishing in the lower half of the field in yesterday's practice.
The earlier session put the Caltex driver behind the eight-ball, with several red flags caused by spinning cars thwarting Ingall's efforts to set a fast time. Ingall went on to qualify 23rd for today's first race, giving him a massive task to reach the top 10 in the 38-lap race.
Ingall made up 11 positions in the opening race of the weekend, climbing to 12th position by the chequered flag in the Caltex Racing Falcon. Ingall, who won last year's round at the Oran Park circuit, is hopeful of further improvement in tomorrow's races, the first of which is the final reverse grid race for the season.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"Today was one of our worst qualifying performances," said Ingall.
"We lost out twice with red flags and couldn't nail it at the end of the session.
"The track surface has deteriorated beyond belief over the last 12 months and it has caught teams out. Using the same set up as last year just doesn't work.
"It was half satisfying to get up to a reasonable position from where we started and we haven't lost a place in the Championship.
"We'll have to get to work and re-invent the wheel overnight."
CRAIG LOWNDES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"?You have now seen my worst ever start," said Lowndes.
"Thankfully today's result will overshadow my starting performance.
"The boys really saved me today putting in a blinder of a pit stop which shows positions are won not only on the track but also in pitlane.
"The car was brilliant and if I had just a little more grunt it would be absolutely perfect."
JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"That was the most fun I have had in a V8 Supercar race," Whincup said.
"I had some great battles and managed to pass all my mates today.
"Our cars had clearly more grip than anyone else's towards the end of the race and even though the times were slower than at the start the reliability was never in doubt.
"It is a great start to the weekend and I am actually looking forward to tomorrows reverse grid race after getting a bit of passing practice in today," Whincup concluded.
JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN MOTORSPORT
"We had a pretty good start to the race but got shuffled by Steven Richards," said Courtney.
"We lost some time and track position but managed to get it back.
"The guys did a cracking job with the pit stop today. It would have been good to get out in front of Davison for track position but we didn't quite get it and this track is quite difficult to pass.
"We've got a lot to work on for tomorrow to find a bit more pace."
-credit: caltex racing