INGALL, YOULDEN LEAD THE WAY FOR CALTEX
Russell Ingall and Luke Youlden have led the way for Caltex Racing during practice one of the Just Car Insurance 500, round nine of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, at the Sandown International Raceway today by posting the second fastest time of the day.
Setting the time on the 17th lap before rain began to fall on the circuit, Ingall and Youlden appear in strong form with two more practice sessions to run tomorrow morning before the afternoon's qualifying session.
Ingall watched from the sidelines for the second half of the 2 ½ hour, limited lap session as Youlden took to the wheel of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon in the wet conditions around the 3.1km circuit.
Ingall and Youlden were joined inside the top ten fastest by team-mates, James Courtney and David Besnard. Despite being forced to retire with persistent front brake issues the duo managed to post the seventh fastest time.
The brake problems, which first surfaced at last month's Oran Park round and have raised their head yet again during today's session will be worked on overnight with the crew now certain of the source of the problem.
Not far behind was the Caltex-backed duo of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who despite Whincup's ongoing battle with a stomach bug over the past few days posted a respectable result to see them placed 17th fastest from today's first of three practice sessions.
Allan Simonsen and Richard Lyons, who drove the Catlex-backed #88 Team Vodafone Falcon, were caught out by the wet weather after heading out to begin the session on practice tyres.
As a consequence they lost the chance to advance up the time sheets once the rain fell.
There will be a further two 30-minute practice sessions tomorrow morning followed by a three-segment qualifying session in the afternoon. Sunday's action will consist of a 20-minute warm up at 9:55am with the 161-lap feature set to fire into action at 1:30pm.
Tomorrow's weather forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 19 degrees with showers expected on Sunday.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "Today was good, it was all pretty solid," said Ingall.
"I mean if it hadn't been wet you could say there might have been a few guys up there that weren't, but then again no one goes out at the start and just mulls around -- they are out there trying to set out a quick time right up and be a hero.
"The car feels strong, we have made some changes today and it is really responsive so that is a good sign.
"Luke did all the wet laps today and he is doing well, we aren't worried about the wet set-up as the car was fast at Oran Park and the wet/dry setups weren't that different -- so if the conditions are changeable on Sunday we will be well prepared."
Luke Youlden - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "Russell and I have driven together at the enduros for three years now, so we are a good team," said Youlden.
"We know each other pretty well and so will be able to sort out easily how things are going to work over the next days with starting order, what will happen and so on, so it should be a good weekend."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We spent the first part of the session working on car balance for dry conditions. We were 90% there before the rain came and we had to switch to a wet setup," said Lowndes.
"Jamie worked on the wet setup by the time I got back in the car was well balanced and put its power down well in the greasy conditions.
"We covered both ends of the scale today and we should have a very good race car come Sunday."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Overall it was not the most ideal session but we are far from concerned. We had a few niggling issues early on which dampened our true potential in the dry conditions," said Whincup.
"We were very encouraged with our wet weather pace it was as good as it has been in the past few rounds.
"Today was just another typical Melbourne day, no other place has weather like this and we have to expect the unexpected this weekend."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We should probably have been higher than seventh. We didn't get the most out of the car as we spent quite a bit of time in the garage sorting out some issues with the brakes," said Courtney.
"It took some time away from working on set up so it hindered us a bit with outright speed but we got some laps in different conditions.
"We have to get on top of it early tomorrow."
David Besnard - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "I didn't get a lot of laps in today, probably only six laps in dry conditions but the pace was pretty good," said Besnard.
"The car felt good. It needs a bit of tweaking tomorrow but things are heading in the right direction."
Richard Lyons - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We had a reasonably good finish to the day with the wet conditions. As today was really a test day overall speed wasn't so important," said Lyons.
"We were happy with the fact that we were able to run in the wet and dry today as this Sandown race is renowned for experiencing Melbourne's temperamental weather conditions.
"We look forward to tomorrow and hope to be able to run some setup options on better dry tyres before qualifying."
Alan Simonsen - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon
"The car was very good in the wet and we seem to have a setup that works well for both of us. It was nice to get some wet weather time as well as dry time," said Simonsen.
"The dry time for us didn't really produce the lap times that we wanted but in saying that we didn't get out on a better set of tyres before the rain came."