Symmons Plains: Caltex Racing preview

CALTEX RACING ON CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE IN TASMANIA Caltex Ambassadors Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall face a vitally important round at this weekend's Ferodo Triple Challenge in Tasmania as they fight to keep the V8 Supercar Championship with ...

CALTEX RACING ON CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE IN TASMANIA

Caltex Ambassadors Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall face a vitally important round at this weekend's Ferodo Triple Challenge in Tasmania as they fight to keep the V8 Supercar Championship with Caltex.

Lowndes currently leads the championship points tally, 30 points clear of his nearest challenger Rick Kelly. Lowndes will be drawing on his experience of Symmons Plains Raceway, where he scored round wins in 1996 and 1998 as he pushes to extend his championship lead ahead of the final two rounds of the season.

Russell Ingall is also a previous winner at Symmons Plains, steering his Caltex Falcon to victory in 2004 when the V8 Supercars returned to the Apple Isle after a five year absence. Ingall will be aiming for a repeat of that performance as he needs a big points haul in order to climb into the championship top three and back-to-back title contention.

The Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical outfit also sees a change of vehicles this round, as Craig Lowndes hands the team's Bathurst winning chassis to Jamie Whincup and takes to the wheel of a brand-new Triple Eight Race Engeering Ford Falcon. Whincup currently sits fifth in the championship and will be hoping to consolidate his position with his fourth podium of the season.

Jeld-Wen Motorsport driver James Courtney has recorded two podium finishes in recent rounds and will be looking to accumulate points in Tasmania in order to claim a top ten Championship finish in his rookie V8 Supercar season. Courtney will be making his racing debut at the Symmons Plains circuit, but did complete a ride day at the track late last year.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD

Russell Ingall - #1 Caltex Racing Falcon

"We won the event in Tasmania in 2004 so SBR know how to win there," said Ingall.

"It's a very short lap at Symmons Plains and braking is paramount. We've had a strong brake package the last two rounds so that will be important this weekend.

"The aim from here is to finish in front of Lowndes, Kelly and Winterbottom and ultimately, we need to win races. Whether that is achievable remains to be seen.

"We are really not in control from here on in. Something needs to happen to the guys in front for us to narrow the gap. They are in charge of their own destiny but having said that, there is a lot of pressure on all parties and it's going to come down to who doesn't crack. We need to be right there if they do."

Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Betta Electrical Falcon

"The new car is very, very good and the team is delighted with the way it has come on," said Lowndes.

"I am extremely happy with the way the new car performed at last week's test day and I am looking forward to using it for the remainder of the championship."

"Tassie was good to us last year and we had a strong car package, the two Sunday races are now 140kms each which will suit the way we set the car up"

"We have not yet had a wet race at Symmons Plains so things could certainly get interesting if we have rain, it is also a track that is semi-difficult to pass on, so team strategy and qualifying position will be the keys to getting a good result."

Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Betta Electrical Falcon

"I'm very excited about racing at Symmons Plains this weekend in the car that we won Bathurst in, and Ludo (Lacroix, car #88 engineer) and myself are both focused on getting the most pace we can out of the car in the crucial areas," said Whincup.

"Qualifying is of great importance at this track, it is short and there are limited passing opportunities without taking pretty big risks, and pit stops can also be a big factor in determining your position in the race.

"There are a lot of gains to be made if you can put all of these aspects together, and I'll be chasing a podium this weekend.

"I can help Craig with his championship charge if needed but he has shown that he is more than capable of winning it by himself."

James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon

"Having a ride day at Symmons Plains under my belt will make a big difference heading into this round," said Courtney.

"It will certainly take those first few adventurous laps out of it but there is still a bit of learning to do.

"I'm going to be able to press on a bit earlier but it won't be as easy as it was at Queensland Raceway, Sandown and Bathurst where I've had a decent amount of laps.

"The goal for the remainder of the year is to reel in those points and get into the top ten in the championship. We would have been pretty close after Indy if we didn't have the penalty drama.

"If we can drag back a top ten championship result after our tough start to the year it will be a good result. It's definitely achievable."

-credit: cr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup