THREE CALTEX CHARGERS IN TOP TEN ON THE GOLD COAST Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes led the charge for the Caltex supported drivers by finishing fifth in the opening race of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the Surfers Paradise street...
THREE CALTEX CHARGERS IN TOP TEN ON THE GOLD COAST
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes led the charge for the Caltex supported drivers by finishing fifth in the opening race of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the Surfers Paradise street circuit in Queensland today.
Lowndes' fifth place was well supported by his fellow Caltex-backed drivers James Courtney and defending champion Russell Ingall who finished sixth and tenth respectively.
After qualifying fourth in the top ten shootout contested earlier in the day Lowndes held that position for the opening handful of laps before pitting to complete his compulsory tyre change on lap seven.
Unfortunately for the multiple series champion he lost a position during his pit stop when he was forced to wait for a car to pass before exiting his pit bay in a safe manner. Lowndes made a couple of attempts to regain fourth position aboard his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon late in the race but to no avail.
Courtney and Ingall were engaged in a five-car freight train for the positions sixth through to tenth. Courtney was hounded by Rick Kelly late in the race but the former dual World Karting Champion held strong to cross the line in sixth.
Ingall had an incident-free race to cross the line tenth and record his 18th top ten finish from 23 races contested aboard his Caltex Racing Falcon this year.
Unfortunately for Jamie Whincup his race came to a premature end after he collected the tyre barrier when his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon jumped out of gear under braking on lap four. The impact caused damage to the right hand front suspension of his car. He will start from the back of the field for tomorrow morning's 22-lap race.
Today's race was won by polesitter Todd Kelly ahead of Garth Tander and Mark Winterbottom. Tomorrow's action comprises of two 22-lap features.
Russell Ingall -- #1 Caltex Racing Falcon
"We took a bit of a punt and went out with a wet set-up," said Ingall.
"Unfortunately for us the rain didn't come until the last lap. We were probably 15 minutes out.
"We actually had a decent pit stop. We rejoined in a good position but a couple of cars behind me had a few laps on their tyres. I went a bit wide into turn three and two got under me.
"Apart from that we were just battling a car that wasn't set up for the conditions. Tomorrow looks like it's going to be wet so we will press on and hopefully we will have better luck tomorrow."
Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Betta Electrical
"I got a good start and was comfortably running in fourth looking after the car and seeing what the pace of the race would be," said Lowndes.
"Through our pitstop we lost a position and I had a battle with James Courtney but managed to get by him.
"The car improved as the race went on and we were catching Jason Richards but basically ran out of laps.
"We gained another 10 points on Rick (Kelly) and have a straight car for tomorrow so can't ask for much more."
Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Betta Electrical
"I got off to a good start and was working into a good race rhythm on the opening two laps," said Whincup.
"On the third lap the car knocked itself out of gear which meant I had no engine brakes and I hit the wall at Turn 8.
"There was significant damage to the front end and I was unable to continue which leaves me at the back of field for tomorrow's first race.
"It won't be easy but I need to make up as many places as possible."
James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon
"We had a decent start in the race and managed to get ahead of Bright," said Courtney.
"The car had good pace before the stop. After the stop we lost a bit of balance and the pace dropped off a little.
"The stop was pretty good. We passed Lowndes in the pits but he got a bit too friendly with me a couple of laps later and got by. That's racing.
"We managed to hang on to sixth position. The cars behind had quite good speed so we will have to shine up the set up for tomorrow."
-credit: caltex racing