Hidden Valley: Caltex Racing Sunday report

LOWNDES RETURNS TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE AT HIDDEN VALLEY Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has taken out his first round win of 2007 with a dominant victory in the Skycity Triple Crown, round six of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at the...

LOWNDES RETURNS TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE AT HIDDEN VALLEY

Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has taken out his first round win of 2007 with a dominant victory in the Skycity Triple Crown, round six of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, at the Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin, Northern Territory today.

Lowndes won both 42-lap races held around the 2.9km circuit today to claim the 27th round win of his V8 Supercar career.

After qualifying in eighth position, the former series champion crossed the line in third position in the opening race yesterday before dominating today's action.

Lowndes' fellow Caltex backed drivers weren't so fortunate over the weekend with James Courtney, Russell Ingall and Jamie Whincup all having a disappointing weekend.

After rolling his Jeld-Wen Falcon during practice on Friday, Courtney's weekend went from bad to worse courtesy of a tap from Steven Johnson on the opening lap of this morning's race. The impact sent Courtney spearing into the tyre barrier before being collected by Shane Price which caused severe damage to both cars and forced both drivers out of the weekend's action.

Ingall showed some impressive speed aboard the Caltex Falcon, which was rebuilt by the team's mechanics following yesterday's opening race incident, during this morning's race. Unfortunately he was unable to repay the team with a good result when an engine issue sidelined him on lap 18 of the 42-lap journey.

Following the replacement of the engine in the Caltex Falcon by the Stone Brothers Racing team between races Ingall lined up from the rear of the grid for the final race. The former series champion showed some good speed to claw his way towards the front of the pack and finish the race in 11th position.

Whincup was on track to record another top five result before he was sidelined with an oil seal failure on Lap 7 of the final race which forced him into the pit garage, losing him five laps and any possibility of a podium finish.

After six rounds Rick Kelly maintains his lead in the championship ahead of Garth Tander and Todd Kelly. Whincup is fourth ahead of Mark Skaife and Lowndes. Courtney and Ingall are 11th and 12th respectively.

The next round of the championship will be held at Queensland Raceway on July 20 -- 22.

CALTEX QUOTEBOARD

Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We threw away a lot of points today. We had a reasonable car at the end, the best it's been all weekend. If we started like that things might have been a bit different," said Ingall.

"We couldn't afford to tear anything up this afternoon. We got through a lot of cars in the first half of the race but we started to lose tyres towards the end. If we were going to pass anyone it was going to be a bit desperate.

"The team doesn't need another bent car so the Caltex Racing Falcon will go home on all fours and we will regroup and get ready for the home track."

Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "It is so good to be back on the podium and record my first win for TeamVodafone," said Lowndes.

"This afternoon's Race 3 start was absolutely sensational and the car just felt perfect as it took off from the line.

"Basically it was faultless and did everything I needed it to do today. Even our tyre degradation was less than expected.

"I am looking forward to racing at Queensland Raceway which is our home and test track and the four week break will also be most welcome."

Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am very disappointed that I didn't deliver what I was hoping for. A third place in the final race could possibly have placed me third overall for the weekend," said Whincup.

"We had a fantastic car all weekend and unfortunately I have no reward to show for it.

"On a positive note I am still fourth in the Championship and I remain confident that the Championship is still within TeamVodafone's grasp."

James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "I had a fantastic start to race two, got past a couple of rows but that's about where it stopped," said Courtney.

"Coming out of the first corner I got tagged from behind. I think Steve (Johnson) was lurking back there. It turned me around into the tyre wall and then I saw Shane Price heading straight for me; there was nothing he could do about it.

"It's been a pretty horrendous weekend for us. SBR has been involved in two incidents this weekend that have been the result of some pretty stupid driving by others and we've suffered a lot of damage.

"You can race hard and fair with the first six or eight cars; Skaife, the Kelly brothers and so on and you can lean on each other but give each other enough room. That's good racing.

"Then you get down the field and you get guys that think that pushing you off the track is good racing. I'm pretty angry. I guess we just have to try and channel that to our home round at Queensland Raceway and turn it around."

-credit: cr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , James Courtney , Garth Tander , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Shane Price