Hidden Valley: Paragon Motorsports race one report

FORD Falcon driver Cameron McLean is preparing for a gruelling test of his new-found fitness in round-four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Darwin tomorrow. Cabin temperature in the V.I.P. Pet Foods Falcon is expected to soar above 50...

FORD Falcon driver Cameron McLean is preparing for a gruelling test of his new-found fitness in round-four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Darwin tomorrow.

Cabin temperature in the V.I.P. Pet Foods Falcon is expected to soar above 50 degrees as McLean contests a total of 203 kilometres in two 35-lap races at the Hidden Valley circuit.

He had a taste of the Top End's sultry conditions in a 20-lap sprint late this afternoon, finishing 29th as the Falcon struggled with overheating rear tyres.

"I've been on a serious fitness program this year and I reckon it should pay off tomorrow," McLean said.

"A V8 Supercar cockpit is always a cosy place, but when you're stuck in a pack as we're likely to be tomorrow with no clear air, and in these Top End conditions, it will be pretty hard work."

However, McLean's Paragon Motorsports crew will have their eyes on tyre durability after today's first-leg race.

McLean started in 30th spot and proved the Falcon's speed by quickly picking up three positions.

"But the heat got to the rears and by mid-distance I was coming on to the straight like a speedway driver. That's a concern in these three-race meetings because you need to keep as many good tyres as possible for Sunday.

"However, we have a compulsory tyre change in each of tomorrow's races so the rubber should in fact do a little less work than it did today.

"We'll also see if we can tweak the suspension a bit more to give the tyres an easier time and then it will just be down to me to give it my best shot.

"Last year we got a 10th place finish in Darwin and the whole team is hungry for another result like that."

RESULTS - Race 1 of 3 (20 laps):
1 Bright (Commodore)
2 Skaife (Commodore)
3 Ambrose (Falcon)
4 Murphy (Commodore)
5 T. Kelly (Commodore)
29 McLean (V.I.P. Pet Foods Falcon)

TIMETABLE: Sunday - 9.45 Warm-up (15 min.), 11.15 Race 2 (35 laps / 101.5 km, pit stop for 4 tyres), 2.30 Race 3 (35 laps / 101.5 km, pit stop for 4 tyres). TV - Network Ten, Sunday 2.30 - 5.00.

CAMERON'S 2001 STORY: Qualifying - McLean 20th, 1:09.31. Race 1 - McLean 11th (Ingall 1st). Race 2 - McLean 12th (Murphy 1st). Race 3 - McLean 10th (Skaife 1st).

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after round 3): 35 points McLean (34th overall); 820 Skaife, 442 Murphy, 398 Ambrose.

-pm-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Cameron McLean