THE CHASE FOR THE SURFBOARD TROPHY IS ON FOR CALTEX DRIVERS
With the chase for 2007 V8 Supercar Championship firm in their minds, Caltex-backed drivers Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes will be out to claim one of the prestigious surfboard trophies at the V8 Supercar Challenge on the Gold Coast this weekend.
This weekend's 11th round of the 2007 series is held in conjunction with the Lexmark Indy 300, round 13 of the Champ Car World Series.
The Caltex-backed TeamVodafone pair are currently first and second in the championship standings following their sensational Bathurst victory in their brand-new BF Falcon at Mount Panorama two weeks ago.
The Championship leader, Whincup, will take the reigns of the Bathurst-winning Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon, which will now run his regular #88 for the duration of the season.
Lowndes won the corresponding round in 2005 and will be looking to continue his team's positive momentum as they chase their third consecutive round victory.
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has twice been victorious on the streets of Surfers Paradise, which makes him hungry for more success in his home event this weekend.
When he won the second championship round contested at the venue in 2003, Ingall was awarded with the 'best trophy of his career' in the way of a surfboard which takes pride of place in his trophy room.
Over the past few rounds Ingall has continued to prove that he has lost none of his touch, in particular at Bathurst where he was running in the top five aboard the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon before he was eliminated in a three-car accident late in the race.
Currently sitting just outside the top ten in the standings, a good result in this weekend's round will ensure he catapults up the order to remain on track to finish his 11th consecutive championship inside the top ten.
Ingall's team-mate, James Courtney, made his debut aboard a V8 Supercar on the Surfers Paradise street circuit last year finishing 11th. Fresh from finishing runner-up at Bathurst, Courtney is high on confidence and is aiming to join Ingall on the podium this weekend.
Practice begins on Friday morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. The first of three 27-lap races will be held on Saturday afternoon followed by two races, one either side of the Champ Car race, on Sunday.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "To be successful on the Gold Coast track you need to have an aggressive driving style, it is a circuit which demands commitment. There is an old saying at Indy -- if you bring the car back with both wing mirrors on it, you haven't been trying hard enough," said Ingall.
"Last year I think I broke both wing mirrors in just about every session, so I was certainly giving it a crack and I'll be doing the same this year.
"I've got some very good memories from the Indy round, I've stood on top of the podium on two occasions and it is where I got my best ever trophy -- the surfboard. It takes pride of place in my trophy room but I would like another one to compliment it.
"Two things which are vital to success at Indy are good brakes and a good qualifying position, they both go hand in hand really. If we can get the brake package right I'm confident we'll be in good shape."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Indy is always an awesome weekend, but the racing is tough and so are the conditions," said Lowndes.
"We've learned from last year and would like to turn the Indy result around to make it a positive, I believe we can do this because of the great momentum we have gained from Bathurst and Sandown."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "There are four major races in V8 Supercars and I've had success in three (Adelaide, Sandown and Bathurst), Indy is the fourth and the one I want to win," said Whincup.
"I'm very excited about continuing on with the new car, it has had a good strike rate so far!
"The key to a good weekend and staying in the championship lead will be a good qualifying performance, solid pit strategy and minimising errors."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "I had my first look at the Surfers Paradise street circuit last year and my first thought was, 'there is no room for error!" said Courtney
"But that's the challenge of the place; you have to drive hard, be really committed and really aggressive.
"We had a great weekend at Bathurst and that has followed through with a really solid preparation for this event.
"The Jeld-Wen Falcon has been getting stronger and stronger and if we can get on a bit of a roll, we can use that momentum to have a great finish to the year."