SIXTH, EIGHTH AND TENTH FOR CALTEX IN BATHURST TOP TEN SHOOTOUT Caltex-backed drivers Craig Lowndes, James Courtney and Russell Ingall have qualified their cars sixth, eighth and tenth respectively during today's top ten shootout for the ...
SIXTH, EIGHTH AND TENTH FOR CALTEX IN BATHURST TOP TEN SHOOTOUT
Caltex-backed drivers Craig Lowndes, James Courtney and Russell Ingall have qualified their cars sixth, eighth and tenth respectively during today's top ten shootout for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, round ten of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, NSW.
After posting the provisional fourth fastest time in yesterday's qualifying which was followed up by the fourth quickest in practice this morning, Lowndes pushed hard during his flying lap with only a slight mistake hampering his effort.
Lowndes' time of 2.08.2449 saw he, co-driver Jamie Whincup and their new #888 TeamVodafone Falcon allocated to start from the third row for tomorrow's race.
Next on the time sheets for Caltex was Courtney, showing impressive speed through the early stages of the lap to eventually post a time of 2.08.3911 to qualify eighth.
For Courtney's team-mate Ingall and his #9 Caltex Racing Falcon, it was a case of what could have been with the 'Enforcer' on course to post a top five time when a left-front -tyre lock-up on the final corner saw it all come crashing down.
Although disappointed with the result, Ingall was optimistic looking ahead with the 2005 V8 Supercar Champion more than aware that anything can happen over the impending 1000 kilometres.
Ingall and his co-driver Luke Youlden, who stood on the top step of the Fujitsu Series round podium today after wrapping up both of the category's races this weekend, are confident of not only their driving combination but also their overall race package heading into Sunday's 'Great Race'.
While Lowndes, Courtney and Ingall took to the top ten shootout, Richard Lyons and Allan Simonsen of the #88 TeamVodafone Falcon were making the best of this morning's practice session.
Despite not making the top ten shootout after placing 16th fastest in yesterday's qualifying, Lyons and Simonsen made good use of this morning's final practice session to prepare themselves for the famous endurance event, consistently setting times amongst the top ten before finally finishing 11th quickest for the twice-red flag affected session.
Fellow Ford pilots Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards will start on pole tomorrow after Winterbottom set down a lap of 2.07.0908 as the final driver to head out today.
The V8 Supercars hit the track for a warm-up tomorrow morning at 7.10am, before lining up on the race grid for the 161 lap, 1000 kilometre, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 - with the green flag scheduled to fall at 10.30am.
CALTEX QUOTEBOARD Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "Being in the top ten was always the goal for qualifying," said Ingall.
"We achieved that yesterday and anything beyond that was going to be a bonus.
"We didn't get that bonus today.
"It won't affect our race tomorrow. We have a very strong car and if we can keep our nose clean we can be in it at the end."
Luke Youlden - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "I was first out in the Caltex Falcon this morning," said Youlden.
"We ran almost a full tank of fuel and practice tyres to see how the car would handle during the race.
"Russell (Ingall) did some laps on lighter tanks. Everything is coming together nicely and we have a good race set up.
"I'm feeling really comfortable out there after another good run in the Fujitsu Series today."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I made a little mistake at Turn 1 on my shootout lap," said Lowndes
"I think I was just a bit too keen.
"The car balance was very good, especially across the top of the mountain but we didn't quite have the tyres to match the pace of Frosty (Mark Winterbottom).
"We showed today that we have a very good race package and we have won the race from starting off this grid position before."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "This morning we did a simulated race run and the car is just about perfect for these conditions," said Whincup.
"We will have a long night ahead sitting with the engineers looking at data to make sure we have the car 100% right."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We had to use more tyres than we wanted to on Thursday as we had a bit of an issue with the brakes grabbing," said Courtney.
"We sorted that out but it put us on the back foot for tyres during qualifying and the shoot out.
"We concentrated a bit more on race set up than outright speed for the shoot out knowing that we didn't have new bags to throw on.
"I'm very happy with the time we did with the tyres we had. We probably don't have the speed of the first couple of cars but we probably could have been fourth with a new set of bags.
"We need to stay around there tomorrow, don't do anything stupid and see where we come out at the end."
David Besnard - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We went out this morning on old tyres with a fair bit of fuel on board and concentrated on our race package," said Besnard.
"We found a few little gains and James (Courtney) thinks that the car was better again during the shoot out.
"The Jeld-Wen car puts in good times quite easily. Yesterday it was fast but nervous, now it is fast and comfortable to drive.
"This is the best shot I've had in a few years at Bathurst, probably since I was last at SBR."
Richard Lyons - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am really happy with the morning's results," said Lyons.
"The boys did a great job to get the car back to scratch after yesterdays practice session incident (Lyons put the car into the wall at The Cutting backwards on the final lap of qualifying after a lock-up).
"We compared our car in practice against others with full race fuel and we seem to be comfortably inside the top ten.
"We are going into the race with renewed confidence and we are both really looking forward to tomorrow's race."
Alan Simonsen - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am really looking forward to tomorrow," said Simonsen.
"We had good pace this morning and the car balance was perfect.
"We want to build on last year's result but it is important to keep in the back of your mind that it is a long race and it is all about the last stint."