CALTEX TEAMS STRIVE TO CONTINUE FORM IN WA After a strong showing at the opening round of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Clipsal 500 three weeks ago Caltex drivers are aiming to continue that form at the BigPond 400 at...
CALTEX TEAMS STRIVE TO CONTINUE FORM IN WA
After a strong showing at the opening round of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Clipsal 500 three weeks ago Caltex drivers are aiming to continue that form at the BigPond 400 at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth, Western Australia this weekend.
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall and Jeld-Wen Motorsport driver James Courtney led the resurgence of Stone Brothers Racing at the Clipsal 500 and both lie in the top five in the championship standings heading into Perth.
Courtney's third V8 Supercar podium came on the streets of Adelaide earlier this month and the 2006 V8 Supercar Rookie of the Year is confident that his Falcon will be even stronger at Barbagallo Raceway this weekend.
Ingall is buoyed by the #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon's strong performance in Adelaide and realises the importance of momentum and a strong start to the season as he strives to regain the V8 Supercar crown he won in 2005.
Craig Lowndes encountered several problems in Adelaide that prevented him from netting a top 10 result. The former V8 Supercar Champion is a three-time round winner at the 2.415-kilometre Barbagalllo circuit and is confident that his Caltex-backed #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon will be back to its best in WA.
While Jamie Whincup was unable to defend his Clipsal 500 crown in Adelaide in the Caltex-backed Team Vodafone Falcon, the young gun still turned in a strong performance to be fourth in points entering Barbagallo.
The BigPond 400 will be decided by three 50-lap events, the first held on Saturday with a further two races on Sunday.
Russell Ingall -- #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon
"SBR has made a positive start to the year and sometimes that's half the battle," said Ingall.
"To get off on the right foot is a big plus for the championship. We've got something to go on with.
"We had a good solid car at the end of the weekend at Clipsal and everything was moving in the right direction. We have been able to work with that direction since then and we should roll a very strong car out of the truck when we get to Barbagallo.
"The small circuit is going to make things interesting in qualifying, what worked at Clipsal may not necessarily work at Barbagallo. It will be important to get a good lap in early as clear track will be hard to find."
Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"Barbagallo Raceway is probably the hardest track to qualify on as you have 31 cars all lapping within a second on a relatively small circuit," said Lowndes.
"We are going to have to be on the pace from the start and it will be critical to get a good lap early on in the first section.
"I am very confident we will see a major improvement, the issues we had in Adelaide have been rectified and we know we have a good race package for Barbagallo.
"The one thing we will need to watch is tyre wear, as we are visiting the track two months earlier than normal there is a good chance that temperatures could reach the high 30s."
Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"Being race fit has never been so important for a driver," said Whincup.
"With cars so equal in lap times and performance, everyone is searching for an edge over the competition and physical and mental fitness plays a major role.
"I'm looking forward to racing at Barbagallo, I definitely want to improve on last year's result and build on the championship point score we earned at Adelaide.
"Good car balance is really important, as you need to be able to drive precisely on the racing line to get maximum power down."
James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon
"The team really raised the bar at Clipsal but we've still got the same goals," said Courtney.
"We go into every race looking to win it and we've probably got a bit of extra confidence behind us now.
"The Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon had a few little problems at Clipsal and the team has been working very hard to sort them out; they've done a great job and we are confident the car will be right on it come Friday.
"We had good car speed in the last race at Barbagallo last year but unfortunately we had an engine failure.
"It's is a great little circuit with the lot. I had a good time racing there last year and I'm looking forward to getting out there on Friday. I'm expecting big things from this weekend."