Clipsal: Caltex Racing Friday report

MIXED DAY FOR CALTEX RACING Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall will start from row six in the opening 250km race of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide tomorrow. Ingall, the reigning V8 Supercar champion, struggled with car set-up in the opening two ...

MIXED DAY FOR CALTEX RACING

Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall will start from row six in the opening 250km race of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide tomorrow.

Ingall, the reigning V8 Supercar champion, struggled with car set-up in the opening two practice sessions of the day and then just missed the top 10 shootout by 0.06 of a second to slot into 11th place.

Ingall came into the pits with only a couple of minutes left of the 20-minute session and was directed to weigh-in scales which cost valuable time before heading to the pit bay to bolt on fresh tyres. There was just 40 seconds remaining when Ingall set off on his last-dash flyer.

His lap got off to a good start, but then he came around the blind corner at turn three to find Todd Kelly stationary in the middle of the track.

He got around him without any problems, but despite a faultless effort in the remainder of the lap he could not recover enough to secure a shootout spot.

Ingall believes that the opportunity to do one more lap would have given him the chance to get into the top 10.

It was only the second time in the eight-year history of the Adelaide event that Ingall has qualified outside the top 10 (12th in 2001).

The Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical drivers Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes will start sixth and seventh respectively. Lowndes (3rd) and Whincup (4th) both lost ground in the top 10 shootout.

Ingall's Stone Brothers Racing teammate James Courtney was 17th in his Caltex-backed Jeld-Wen Falcon on debut.

Mark Skaife claimed pole position from Todd Kelly and Garth Tander after a shootout which involved eight Holdens and two Fords.

RUSSEL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING

"We were one lap out, not that we would have had the time in the car to get pole," said Ingall.

"We were one session out most of the day because we did not start with a good base.

"We were out there testing and changing a lot of things while the others were going forward.

"We made the right changes in qualifying, but then we got held up by the scales and that cost us a final lap.

"We always knew the Commodores were going to be quick over one lap here, but we have 78 to do tomorrow.

"I think the Caltex Falcon will be a very good car for the race distance and I don't know how many cars in front of us can say the same thing.

"SBR cars have traditionally had good race pace and that is going to be important tomorrow when tyre deterioration is going to be massive."

CRAIG LOWNDES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL

"With not having the Australian Grand Prix it was good to see where our competition lies," said Lowndes.

"Obviously HRT have done their home work over the Christmas break and have a quick package.

"We are more than confident our race package will be both reliable and competitive tomorrow."

JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN MOTORSPORT

"Today was a bit disappointing," said Courtney.

"This morning it was going really, really well. We made it to eighth position and then we made some changes that we thought would be better for qualifying but it was worse.

"That happens sometimes and unfortunately that's what happened today so we have a bit of work to do tomorrow. But we know what we did wrong so it's easy to go back to that set up.

"Learning the track hasn't been too bad, I'm picking it up relatively quickly. It was just unfortunate what happened in the last session but we will see how we go in the race."

JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL

"I am stoked. That is my best qualifying position in V8 Supercars," said Whincup.

"After a hard off season of development it is great to see our team has progressed at at least the same level as the others.

"The objective tomorrow is to have a clean run, collect as many points as possible and secure a good starting position for Sunday."

-cr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly