Hidden Valley: Caltex Racing Saturday report

INGALL FUMING AS CALTEX SCORES DUAL TOP FIVE IN DARWIN OPENER Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has been left fuming after a first lap incident while Caltex-backed drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have scored top five results in Race One ...


Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has been left fuming after a first lap incident while Caltex-backed drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have scored top five results in Race One of the Skycity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin today.

Ingall might be one of the most experienced drivers in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, but he is feeling good about the longevity of his career after an opening-lap incident of the Skycity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley in Darwin today.

Ingall, 43, who is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, was left with 'absolutely nowhere to go' after two of the sport's 'young guns' got tangled up in a turn-five accident.

The 2005 series champion, Ingall had earlier qualified the Caltex Falcon in 15th position, but had already picked up a couple of spots by the time the drama unfolded in front of him.

Mark Winterbottom's car was left stranded on the side of the track after being hit from behind by the Ford of Will Davison. Davison was later excluded from the results for Race One.

Ingall was left as a 'passenger in his own car' as he turned the corner and found Winterbottom sitting motionless and backwards on the side of the track. He hit Winterbottom head on before being launched a couple of metres in the air.

He was then hit from behind by Jason Bright in a change reaction which took five cars out of the race.

The Caltex's crew will work through the night to get Ingall's Ford back together for tomorrow's two remaining 42-lap races.

Ingall, who sat ninth in the championship before this weekend, received no championship points as a result of today's non-finish.

Meanwhile Lowndes and Whincup's Caltex-backed Team Vodafone Ford Falcons forged ahead, chasing down Holden opponents over the closing stages to finish third and fifth respectively.

James Courtney's race was not much better than team-mate Ingall, as he encountered a wheel nut problem during his compulsory pit stop, dropping him down the order and out of points contention.

Mark Skaife won today's race ahead of Rick Kelly and Lowndes. The winner of the Skycity Triple Crown will be decided tomorrow with a further two races held.


Russell Ingall -- #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon

"Sometimes this sport really amazes me," said Ingall.

"A couple of the so-called young guns of the sport have gotten together on the third turn of a 42-lap race and the result is a lot of badly damaged cars.

"We had a great start and had a fast race car, but that deal destroyed everything.

"These are the new stars of the sport, so called 'professionals' - give me a break!

"When you see this stuff I get a good feeling about the longevity of my job, I probably have at least another 10 years left in the sport.

"You have to feel sorry for the fans who had four or five less cars to watch and more so for my Caltex Ford crew who now have a long night ahead of them.

"I'm all for a bit of biff and barge, but lets get racing first and then go at it.

"There are a few guys out there who obviously still have a lot to learn.

"We also seem to have a new set of guidelines out there so I look forward to starting from the back of the grid tomorrow.

"The other thing is that I have memory like an elephant -- game on!"

Craig Lowndes -- #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon

"I was pretty stoked with the pitstop result given that I had traffic all around me," said Lowndes.

"It was also good to have a very competitive car right to the end of the race. I didn't have to use up my tyres to pass Todd (Kelly).

"With a look at the data tonight we are confident we can still find some more for tomorrow's two races."

Jamie Whincup -- #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon

"I had a disappointing start losing two spots and was more than happy to get through the carnage that resulted at Turn 4," said Whincup.

"The car handled well throughout the race and it really came on strong in the second half allowing me to overtake Will (Davison), Steve (Richards) and then Garth (Tander).

"I am starting again on the third row of the grid and after today's practice run I am confident I can get the start right tomorrow."

James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon

"We had a good start to the race with a bit of rubbing with Jason Richards into the first corner," said Courtney.

"Coming up to the next corner I found all the shenanigans going on with Winterbottom spinning across the track.

"As I avoided him, Steve (Johnson) and I touched, and we got a bit of damage to the steering.

"We were running OK in ninth until we were delayed in the pit stop. Everyone else was going out and we were still sitting there.

"Back on track, (Jason) Richards hit me again a bit later and fired me off the track and that just made the day; long, hot and not very enjoyable."

-credit: cr

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom