Eastern Creek: Round five news and notes

Australia's premier motorsport category descends on Eastern Creek Raceway this weekend for round five in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.This will be the17th time the Championship series has visited the Western Sydney circuit, which was ...

Australia's premier motorsport category descends on Eastern Creek Raceway this weekend for round five in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.This will be the17th time the Championship series has visited the Western Sydney circuit, which was originally built in 1990 to host the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

History will be created when the event spreads across the full three days of the long weekend.Monday racing has been introduced to take in the Queen's Birthday Holiday, giving fans the chance to see all three days of action including practice on Saturday, normally held on a Friday.

The Creek round should be a beauty, the stars and cars last visited the circuit in 2005, a race won by Craig Lowndes over then Champion Marcos Ambrose. It is also a track where Holden hero Mark Skaife has had great success and the infamous fist-waving incident with Ford arch enemy Russell Ingall etching the two combatants into Australian motorsport folklore.

Series leader and reigning Supercar champion Rick Kelly will be out to increase his narrow championship lead over Toll HSV team mate Garth Tander and the quiet achiever in V8 Supercars Jamie Whincup, a surprise round winner in round four at Winton Raceway, who continues to overshadow his more illustrious Vodafone Triple 888 team mate and pre-season V8 Supercar favourite Craig Lowndes.

Whincup's Winton win the first for Ford this season has instilled a spring in the step for many in the Ford camp at a circuit the blue oval traditionally are well suited to, combined with a gain in more top-end Horsepower due to a new Engine management system, Stone Brothers pair Russell Ingall, James Courtney and the Ford performance racing duo Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom will be looking to replicate Whinncup's previous round win and place more pressure on the leading Holden pair of Kelly and Tander.

Mark Skaife will be the man on a mission at the Creek after the hoopla that surrounded his 20th anniversary start in touring cars coinciding with the Winton round and the five time touring car champion and 37 round win record holder (with the late-great Peter Brock) embarrassing the all powerful HRT factory team with a display reminiscent with our famous Olympic speed skating champion Steve Bradbury's memories of the opposition when the Holden Legend champion skated around the track on thin ice finding the Winton green wet Kikuyu infield more times than Colonel Sanders has thrown a bucket of herbs into a barrel of Chicken.

Eastern Creek is all about car set -up, the weekends three races will largely depend on qualifying towards the front of the grid, the two hour practice session will be critical to the outcome on the challenging layout which has a number of high speed corners and a long front straight, although passing can be quite difficult on the 3.93 Klm circuit that demands tyre preservation as one of the major ingredients for success and a pointy end finish in all three races and maximum championship points.

Championship Points... Rick Kelly.. 224 Garth Tander .. 223 Jamie Whincup ..168 Todd Kelly..153 James Courtney..112

-credit: Australian Independent Media: By Graham Jacobs

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom , Peter Brock