CALTEX DRIVERS READY TO HUNT DOWN THE TITLE AT PHILLIP ISLAND
For the fifth consecutive year a Caltex-backed driver is in the hunt for the V8 title as the championship battle heads to a climax at the Dunlop Grand Finale, round 14 of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at Phillip Island this weekend.
On three of the previous four occasions Caltex-backed drivers have been victorious with Marcos Ambrose in 2003 and 2004 and Russell Ingall in 2005. This year it is Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes who are in contention for the prestigious crown aboard their Caltex-backed TeamVoadafone Falcons.
Whincup enters this weekend's final round seven points clear of rival Garth Tander while Lowndes is only a handful of points further adrift in third spot. Defending Champion Rick Kelly is also in with a shot at the title in fourth, albeit a slim one.
Despite the pressure Whincup and Lowndes will be under this weekend the pair will approach the weekend no different to the 13 previous rounds of the championship contested so far in 2007.
As Whincup and Lowndes will be focusing on the overall championship to provide Caltex with the ultimate send - off in the company's last round as a sponsor in V8 Supercars, fellow Caltex-backed drivers Russell Ingall and James Courtney will also be out to finish the year on a high.
Ingall, who has claimed a top ten Championship position every year since he started competing in the V8 Supercar category in 1996, is currently 11th in the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series.
The 2005 V8 Supercar Champion needs only 15 points to pass Will Davison and cement himself into the top ten. Ingall is searching for a strong result at the flowing 4.45km circuit to keep his enviable record in tact.
Courtney has led a number of races in recent rounds but has not been able to break - through for his maiden race win and is eager to do so before the season ends.
Ingall and Courtney have the momentum to put in a strong finish to the season with three podium finishes in the last four rounds, shared between Courtney, with second place finishes at Bathurst and Bahrain, and Ingall, who claimed second on the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit.
Practice begins on Friday followed by qualifying on Saturday morning and the opening 27-lap race in the afternoon. A further two races will be held on Sunday.
Russell Ingall -- Driver of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon
"Two years ago I was preparing to go to Philip Island to clinch my first Championship. Unfortunately this year hasn't gone to plan and the main goal now is to achieve the best result possible so that I can finish in the top ten in the Championship," said Ingall.
"I've never finished outside the top ten since I started in the series in 1996 and I'm not about to start now.
"It would be nice to get on the podium again and end the season in style.
"Caltex have been a fantastic sponsor of SBR and of mine personally over the past five years.
"It will be sad to see them leave the sport, but, as they say, nothing is forever.
"I have had the pleasure of meeting so many terrific people at Caltex during the last five years and obviously it was great to reward them with a championship in the Caltex Falcon in 2005.
"It would be great to give everyone at Caltex the send off they deserve with a rewarding result at Phillip Island on Sunday."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "There are still four of us in with a mathematical chance," said Lowndes.
"It is going to be an exciting weekend for all of us and I think as a Team we are in a much better position than last year."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We will be approaching this race meeting like all the others," said Whincup.
"Phillip Island is a circuit I really enjoy and as we have shown this year we certainly have the pace to win races."
James Courtney -- Driver of the #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "Phillip Island is a great circuit with a European style. It is just the type of high speed flowing circuit that I like," said Courtney.
"You really need a good stable car at the circuit through the high speed corners. The boys are working hard to make sure that the Jeld-Wen Falcon is just that.
"We have had some good results in recent rounds and we really want to finish off the year strong.
"If we could grab a couple more championship positions and finish the year with a race win it would be fantastic."