INGALL READY TO CONTINUE WINTON SUCCES Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall is hoping that his previous record at Winton Motor Raceway will provide a solid foundation on which he can continue to build his V8 Supercar Championship assault this ...
INGALL READY TO CONTINUE WINTON SUCCES
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall is hoping that his previous record at Winton Motor Raceway will provide a solid foundation on which he can continue to build his V8 Supercar Championship assault this weekend.
Of all the venues on the V8 Supercar schedule, Winton has provided the most consistent results for the reigning V8 Supercar champion.
He won his first ever round at the venue in 1997 and in his eight appearances he has never finished outside the top 10 on an outright basis.
His one and only pole of his V8 Supercar career also came at Winton in 2001.
The V8 Supercars return to Winton this weekend after having a year off in 2005 and Ingall heads into round four as the championship leader.
Ironically, Ingall was 10th after qualifying two years ago and then produced one of his most productive top 10 shootout efforts, jumping five places on the grid.
He eventually finished fourth outright in what was a single 100-lap race around the tight and twisty North-East Victorian venue.
Ingall's Stone Brothers Racing teammate James Courtney will be heading to Winton for the first time this weekend in his Caltex-lubricated Jeld-Wen Falcon.
Courtney's speed has improved over the last couple of meetings, but continued back luck has plagued his overall results.
The Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Ford team goes into this weekend's event with added confidence after a successful test day at Queensland Raceway last week.
The test saw Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup joined by their endurance counterparts, Richard Lyons and Allan Simonsen for the first time, with each driver completing over 70 laps.
Lowndes acknowledged Team Betta Electrical would head to the technical Winton Circuit this weekend with a similar race setup to that used at Queensland Raceway, but admitted weather would play a major role in car setup on the day.
Winton Motor Raceway holds fond memories for Jamie Whincup who had much success at the Victorian circuit in his Formula Ford days and also broke into his first ever V8 Supercar Top Ten Shootout at the circuit in 2003.
After a weekend of mixed results at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway in which he salvaged tenth outright for the round the 23-year old is hoping for a trouble free run at Winton.
The V8 Supercar action gets underway at Winton Raceway on Friday 2 June, with drivers able to complete up to 40 laps under free practice. Saturday features qualifying and Top Ten Shootout action, with race 1 (100kms) run in the afternoon.
Sunday features an opening reverse grid race (140kms), where starting positions are determined by reversing the finishing order from the opening race; half points only are on offer for the placings. The grid for race 3 is determined by combining both results, and full points are awarded to the winner of this 140km final sprint.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"In one way it is a bit embarrassing to say that Winton is the place I got my only pole, but in another way we need to celebrate the fact that I actually did get one and I got it there," said Ingall.
"Qualifying is certainly something I have been focusing on in the last couple of seasons, but I still have not managed to crack another pole. Maybe we can change that and history will repeat itself this weekend.
"Winton has always been a good venue for me and I don't think we have ever pulled out of there on Sunday night without a bunch of points -- and that will be the goal again this weekend.
"We need the points to keep ticking over so we can roll into the second half of the season have a red hot go.
"SBR and the Caltex Falcon has always had reasonable speed at Winton and I think tactics are going to be vital this weekend with the reverse grid and compulsory pit stops.
"I think it will almost be a case of who is smarter and not necessarily faster who walks away with the big trophy this weekend. And then there is the weather!"
JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN RACING
"We have had Good pace the last couple of race meetings and it really has not been our fault that the results have not been better," said Courtney.
"I think we are in with a good chance of getting a bag of points this weekend if we learn the track as quickly as possible and stay out of trouble.
"All I know about Winton is that it's cold and the track is tight.
"I have been watching everything I can get my hands on and also talking to Russell (Ingall) who has been great with his advice.
"SBR pretty had some good speed there last time with both Russell and Marcos (Ambrose), but I am sure everyone has taken their programs to another level since the series was there a couple of years ago.".
CRAIG LOWNDES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"We had our second team test of the year earlier in the week which highlighted a few things we need to change on car setup," said Lowndes.
"Overall it was a very productive day and I think we all came away understanding the car a lot better than what we have.
"We will need to be very conscious of weather patterns this weekend, this will be one of the biggest challenges we face with car setup as even a bit of cloud cover on a sunny day can change your lap times considerably.
"Winton is going to be a very interesting round, not only is it the test track used by most of the Holden teams but it is also one of the most difficult circuits to pass on.
"As the saying goes to finish first, first you have to finish. Never before has this statement been more relevant. It is critical to finish race two and with very limited passing opportunities pit strategy will be more important than ever before."
JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"We are aiming for third time lucky with this three race format," said Whincup.
"I think the reverse grid race will be very different to Perth as it won't be as easy to come through from the back due to the limited passing opportunities.
"Winton is one of those tracks you either love or hate.
"I really like the circuit it was the test track used by both of the V8 Supercar teams I drove for previously and it was where I secured my first ever Top Ten Shootout in 2003.
"Patience and finishing races are my personal goals this weekend."