CALTEX TRIO THROUGH TO BATHURST TOP TEN SHOOTOUT Three of Caltex's four driver combinations for this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, are set to tackle the top ten shootout after successfully moving past...
CALTEX TRIO THROUGH TO BATHURST TOP TEN SHOOTOUT
Three of Caltex's four driver combinations for this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, are set to tackle the top ten shootout after successfully moving past the first two legs of qualifying today.
Craig Lowndes, James Courtney and Russell Ingall set the fourth, fifth and sixth fastest times respectively in today's second leg of qualifying to convincingly assure their spots in the top ten.
After an eventful first leg of qualifying saw the session paused and then restarted with time only for a few laps remaining, all four Caltex-backed entries moved ahead to take part in the second stage of proceedings.
Following that 30 minute session, reigning Bathurst Champion Lowndes now sits fourth fastest, leaving he and co-driver Jamie Whincup confident ahead of the weekend after testing race scenarios during practice and today's qualifying.
Fifth was Courtney, driving his #4 Jeld-Wen Falcon leaving he and co-driver David Besnard happy with their weekend's so far.
Just 0.003 behind in sixth was Ingall aboard the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon, with his performance adding extra joy to co-driver Luke Youlden's day following his race one win for the Fujitsu Series this morning which he led from the opening lap.
As Mount Panorama's most consistent driver over the circuit's 45 year-long history, Ingall has been strategic in his approach to his Bathurst 1000 weekend, choosing yesterday to run used tyres in practice and focus on car set-up rather than setting quick times early in the weekend.
Today, this strategy continued with some 'tweaking' taking place during the sessions to further prepare Ingall and Youlden's car for Sunday's great race.
With the race engine yet to be fitted into Ingall's Caltex Racing Falcon, he is confident of finding further gains -- with a strong package assured with good brakes and the ability to survive on older tyres -- both important factors in the 1000 kilometre endurance event.
Richard Lyons in the #88 TeamVodafone Falcon was the only one of the Caltex contingent to encounter misfortune, putting the rear left section of his car into the wall at the Cutting after going off over grass while placed 17th fastest with time enough for one flying rap remaining.
Following a final 60 minute practice session for the field at 10.00am, the top ten will come together for the shootout at 3.40pm ahead of Sunday's great race.
CALTEX QUOTEBOARD Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We are really happy with the way things went today," said Ingall.
"We made some changes in qualifying that we wanted to try in practice but ran out of time.
"We made some gains and it's really been a matter of tweaking the Caltex Falcon rather than doing anything major.
"The last lap in qualifying looked like being a mid 2:07 but we got held up by (Cameron) McConville all the way through the chase.
"We are within two to three tenths of the main guys, we have some good pace which is half the battle and I think it is a pace that we can sustain on older tyres.
"We still have the race engine to go in which will give us a bit more and we have good brakes which seems to be an issue for some teams at the moment.
"SBR has two cars in the top ten with both looking very consistent; it's looking pretty good at this stage."
Luke Youlden - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We ran on the same tyres as yesterday in my session this morning and tried a few bits and pieces to settle the rear of the car," said Youlden.
"We've been chasing that a bit and seem to have it sorted out.
"The Caltex Falcon is very comfortable and I have no doubt that we will be able to race consistently at a good pace.
"My win in the Fujitsu Series today has also given me a lot of confidence on track; it really helps to have that second category to get your eye in."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Throughout qualifying we made some minor adjustments to the car and went to far so had to come back the other way," said Lowndes.
"We put on a new set of tyres and that is when I did my best time which was the quickest the car has gone today."
"During qualifying we simulated top ten runs and I am very confident with the cars grip levels and ability for tomorrows shootout."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We used the multiple practice sessions to experiment with the car and we have gathered some good information to help out us out throughout Sunday's race," said Whincup.
"Craig did a good job in qualifying and with the top ten simulations he ran we are confident of a securing a good starting position for Sunday."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The track conditions were quite bad early in this afternoon's qualifying session but as it went on, the track came back to us a bit," said Courtney.
"We had a really steady run in the Jeld-Wen Falcon, only encountering problems on our second set of tyres when we got caught up behind one of the Supercheap cars.
"We got held up a lot there but will use those tyres for the shoot out tomorrow.
"The Jeld-Wen boys were looking to be inside the top ten today. They did a great job and we are now in a position where we know we will be away from much of the chaos at the start of the race.
"In some ways, tomorrow is a bit of fun; starting first or tenth in a one-thousand kilometre race isn't going to matter much so we won't be taking any risks in the shoot out tomorrow.
"If we can get a bit closer to the pointy end great but we are pretty happy with the weekend so far."
David Besnard - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "Everything came together today and we are very happy with our progress," said Besnard.
"The Jeld-Wen Falcon is running really well and we've just been tweaking it so far.
"I went out on James' tyres from yesterday in the first practice and got to within a tenth of his time so I'm happy with my pace and the car.
"James did a really good job in qualifying; we probably haven't got the pace of the top two or three but I'm sure that James can dance his way through the traffic; anything can happen on race day."
Richard Lyons - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am really disappointed," said Lyons. "After the last practice session we were looking good and confident of a spot in the top ten," said Lyons.
"When we went out for qualifying the track conditions were a bit different and the car balance changed a lot which made it very difficult to reach the potential we had this morning."
"Thankfully qualifying positions at race like this is not so crucial," he added.
Allan Simonsen - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I was pretty happy with my practice session this morning," said Simonsen.
"We had good car speed and the car was well balanced."
"Unfortunately qualifying did not go to plan but we are confident we will have a good race car come Sunday."