LOWNDES FOURTH IN BARBAGALLO RACE ONE Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has secured fourth place in race one of the BigPond 400, round two of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia ...
LOWNDES FOURTH IN BARBAGALLO RACE ONE
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has secured fourth place in race one of the BigPond 400, round two of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia today.
After qualifying in third position the former four-time winner at Barbagallo started on the inside of the second row aboard the Caltex-backed #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon. Lowndes maintained his position at the start of the race before engaging in a battle with Mark Skaife during the early laps.
Lowndes dropped to fifth spot mid-race before benefiting from the demise of Todd Kelly, who suffered a brake issue on lap 38 elevating Lowndes to fourth, the position he held until the finish.
Lowndes' team-mate Jamie Whincup qualified ninth and before going on to secure seventh position at the finish.
During his compulsory pit-stop Whincup had a minor altercation with fellow competitor, and housemate, Will Davison, while leaving the pits which is currently under review by stewards.
Following a long night of repairs by his crew following yesterday's practice accident, which caused major damage to the Jeld-Wen Falcon, James Courtney was on-track to reward them for their efforts by qualifying in sixth position.
Courtney held this position before a mishap during his pitstop dropped him down the order. The ex-Formula One test driver fought back to cross the line 13th.
2005 Series Champion Russell Ingall endured a tough day behind the wheel of his Caltex Racing Falcon. After qualifying 17th Ingall found it hard to move up the order given the lack of passing opportunities around the 2.41km Barbagallo circuit and finished the 50-lap encounter 18th.
Ingall will start tomorrow's second race from the rear of the field after receiving a penalty for passing under yellow flag conditions during today's opening race.
Today's race was won by polesitter Garth Tander ahead of team-mate Rick Kelly and Mark Skaife.
Tomorrow's action will include a pair of 50-lap features at 11:10am and 2:20pm.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon
"To say we had a tough day today was an understatement," said Ingall.
"Barbagallo is renowned for its changeable track conditions and we were caught out by that today. We made a change and it was in the wrong direction.
"We didn't really have any strengths to draw on in the race to make some headway through the field so it was pretty processional.
"To top it off, we will start race two from the rear of the grid after receiving a drive-through penalty post race so it's going to be a big ask tomorrow.
"We are just going to have to be on the ball and drag back anything we can from the weekend."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"I got a great start and had a really good battle with Mark (Skaife) but our cold tyre speed was not the best," said Lowndes.
"The car balance from the middle to the end of the race was really good and we were able to match pace with the front runners.
"All-in-all the car is working well and I am confident we can find some more improvements for tomorrow's races."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"I think it is a true indication of the experience I have gained working with a fantastic team," Whincup said.
"We have met with the IPO over the incident with Will (Davison) and we are now waiting for the stewards to review it."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon
"Qualifying actually went pretty well today," said Courtney.
"We had a lot of work to do in the session; the car wasn't great when we first went out.
"The Jeld-Wen guys worked really hard and we tried a lot of things to get it on the pace. I probably didn't get the most out of the car as I was still a little careful in the braking areas.
"To come away with sixth after yesterday was a great result.
"We had a great start in the race, but couldn't quite get in front of Todd (Kelly).
"As the race went on we started to lose a bit of the handling. When we pitted we had a problem with a cross-thread on the left rear so that cost us some time.
"Once we got back out I was stuck behind Max Wilson and it's pretty tough to pass here so it was a bit of a procession until the end.
"The guys will do a bit of work on the Jeld-Wen Falcon overnight and hopefully turn it back into a rocket ship for tomorrow."