Bahrain: Caltex Racing Teams preview

CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING TO CONTINUE THEIR MOMENTUM IN BAHRAIN The quartet of Caltex-backed drivers will be looking to continue their late season momentum when they take to the circuit at the Desert 400, round 12 of the 2007 V8 Supercar ...

CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING TO CONTINUE THEIR MOMENTUM IN BAHRAIN

The quartet of Caltex-backed drivers will be looking to continue their late season momentum when they take to the circuit at the Desert 400, round 12 of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, in Bahrain this weekend.

Fresh from the 33rd podium finish of his career on the Surfers Paradise street circuit, Russell Ingall heads to the second 'fly away' round of 2007 full of confidence and aiming to secure his spot inside the top ten in the championship standings.

During the corresponding round of the championship last year, the first visit to the $200m venue by Australia's elite motorsport series, the 2005 series champion finished in 13th place -- a result he is confident on improving on this weekend.

Ingall is looking forward to the challenge of the big open circuit in Bahrain and believes that the Caltex Racing Falcon has the pace to stick with the front runners at the coming round as he chases his 11th consecutive finish inside the top ten in the overall championship.

Like his team-mate, James Courtney has also been impressive over the past few rounds with a podium finish at Bathurst and a front row qualifying position at the most recent round on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

Entering this weekend's 12th round, Caltex-backed TeamVodafone driver Jamie Whincup holds a slender nine-point advantage over Garth Tander at the top of the championship standings.

Whincup and team-mate Craig Lowndes have won two of the past three rounds in the championship and both were in contention for the victory on the Surfers Paradise street circuit two weeks ago. The duo should again figure prominently as they head to the Middle East this week.

Unlike the Australian and New Zealand events, this weekend's round will begin on Thursday afternoon (local time) ahead of qualifying and the opening 31-lap race on Friday. The round will be highlighted by a pair of 31-lap journeys around the 3.6km circuit on Saturday.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD

Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We've been building some momentum in recent rounds and our second at Indy proves that the Caltex Racing Falcon has the pace to be up there at the front," said Ingall.

"Bahrain is a big, open circuit; it's very flat and smooth. It has some challenging corners and there are good opportunities to pass if your car is set up right.

"The surface is very high on grip but it's also incredibly hard on tyres which can make cause issues as the weekend goes on.

"The Caltex boys are on a high after Indy and we're confident that we can keep it at the pointy end for another good result."

Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "This is the second year of going to Bahrain so the teams are much more organised and we have the added benefit of data from last year," said Lowndes.

"It took us a while to get our head around the race track last year but by the third race we had finally found a setup that we were happy with which puts us at a really good starting point when we hit the track on Thursday.

"The heat will play a much bigger role this year as it is tipped to be around 10 degrees hotter which will affect brakes, tyres and the drivers comfort."

Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Both myself and the team are very confident heading into this weekend," said Whincup.

"We were quite good here last year until my engine gave way in the final race.

"The Bahrain circuit is one of the best in the world, it is fast, free flowing and is made up of a very durable and coarse surface to cope with the extreme heat in Summer. This actually makes the surface quite slippery.

"My engineer and I worked really well together at Indy, I know if we are on top of our game we can get the job done this weekend."

James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We had a good run at Bahrain last year, the car was quite speedy but unfortunately we got caught up in an incident with Rick Kelly in race two last year which cost us a good weekend," said Courtney.

"The team has shown some really good form at Bathurst and Indy so we are in with a good shot in Bahrain.

"The circuit over there is really hard on tyres. The track surface is very abrasive and it burns the tyres out quickly. It will be tough to manage that over the weekend, it's something that everyone will be keeping a close eye on.

"The speed of the car is a lot higher than tenth in the Championship but that's where we are at the moment. We just have to knuckle down and claim as many spots as we can."

-credit: caltex/bammedia.com.au

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