LOWNDES ON THE PODIUM AT WINTON Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has continued his charge towards the top of the championship standings with a solid second placing in the opening race at Winton Motor Raceway, round four of the V8 Supercar ...
LOWNDES ON THE PODIUM AT WINTON
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has continued his charge towards the top of the championship standings with a solid second placing in the opening race at Winton Motor Raceway, round four of the V8 Supercar Championship, today.
After starting from fourth on the grid Lowndes made a good start aboard his Caltex backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon to be in third position mid way through the opening turn.
As Lowndes battled at the front of the pack, defending champion Russell Ingall struggled to find the "sweet spot" in the set up on his Caltex Racing Falcon.
Ingall was unable to find a competitive setup on his Caltex Racing Falcon during qualifying and as a consequence missed out on a spot inside the top ten.
The Caltex supported pair were two of the first drivers to complete their compulsory pit stops on lap six.
Following his stop, Ingall had moved into a position just outside the top ten but was unable to make any real progress during the remainder of the race and finished 12th.
After qualifying 18th Ingall's team-mate James Courtney finished 15th in his first race at the Victorian circuit.
Lowndes' team-mate Jamie Whincup was forced to undergo an unscheduled pit stop early in the race to remove loose bodywork on his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon which dropped him down the order.
Whincup crossed the line 25th.
Jason Bright won today's 34-lap race ahead of Lowndes and Paul Dumbrell.
There will be two 46-lap races contested tomorrow to complete the round.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--
Russell Ingall - Caltex Racing
"We have really struggled today. Basically we just haven't cracked it here at Winton yet," said Ingall.
"Qualifying was hard work. We gained a few places in the race but didn't really make any great gains on the field.
"It is certainly difficult here given it's not our test track but that is no excuse. There are other teams in the same boat that are running ahead of us on the track.
"On the positive side, SBR has been in positions like this before and always manage to come out the other side as a stronger team.
"We just need to knuckle down, find some answers and get on with it tomorrow."
James Courtney - Jeld-Wen Motorsport
"We continued to experience problems getting turn into the car today. The JELD-WEN crew have tried a lot of things but we are still searching for the solution," said Courtney.
"Going into the race, I had a great start, jumping a few spots into the first corner but into turn three I was hit from behind. I got some damage to the back and the front and took a hit in the wheel which put my steering out for the rest of the race.
"We will try some more things tonight to try and iron out the problems and see if we can get something going for tomorrow."
Craig Lowndes -- Team Betta Electrical
"Winton has been in the past a bit of a lottery for me," said Lowndes.
"So it was good to start cleanly and then gain a couple places today ensuring I am going into Race Two with a solid start to the weekend.
"Pitting early was not the ideal scenario, as our tyres certainly started to suffer in the later half of the race.
"I enjoyed the last seven laps having Jamie and myself acting as bookends to Brighty and clearly demonstrating that both Triple Eight prepared Falcons have got what it takes to match the major contenders in this championship."
Jamie Whincup -- Team Betta Elecrical
"I am disappointed that we lost the opportunity to be in the top ten given our starting position but I am very encouraged with the pace and handling of car #88," said Whincup.
"Starting from sixth in the reverse grid race tomorrow will give me a good chance to gain places and redeem a missed opportunity that occurred in Perth.
"I also think I must have used up all my bad luck and I am looking forward to a better day tomorrow."