Hidden Valley: TeamVodafone preview

TeamVodafone set for a scorcher in the Top End Rivalry has set in for TeamVodafone in the prelude to next week's Sky City Triple Crown at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 18 -- 20. In what will be the seventh event of the V8 ...

TeamVodafone set for a scorcher in the Top End

Rivalry has set in for TeamVodafone in the prelude to next week's Sky City Triple Crown at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on June 18 -- 20.

In what will be the seventh event of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the team are determined to reclaim lost ground following a bittersweet end to their Winton weekend.

Defending champion Jamie Whincup, whose stronghold on the series was shattered after a mid-race jostle saw him finish 24th in the second race, has the most to prove if he is to regain the championship lead. The challenge ahead looks promising for Whincup with help from his new VE Holden Commodore - which is set to make its official debut on the sinuous 2.8km Hidden Valley track. Whincup, who got behind the wheel of his new car for the first time yesterday in a shakedown at Queensland Raceway, said the morning proved to be a great success.

"Overall I'm really happy with the day, we successfully completed our 20 laps. There were no mechanical issues which represents quality engineering," he said.

"This car feels the same as the last car, which is a good thing, and it has no shortage of speed.

"There's no secret the sprint tyres are my weakness at the moment but we will be putting our focus to turning that around for Sunday's race in Darwin," Whincup said.

Tailing Whincup in third on the championship standings (1245pts) is team-mate Craig Lowndes who is just as hungry for the crown. Darwin has been a happy hunting ground for Lowndes in previous years. The TeamVodafone driver won the event in 2006 and 2007 and scored the most number of points for the weekend in 2009, finishing sixth and third in the two races.

"I love going to Darwin for this event, its a favourite with many of the drivers as the whole community gets behind it," Lowndes explained.

"It's a track where I've had success in the past but that means very little this weekend; I've got to put my head down and continue to collect points to keep in this championship hunt.

"The soft tyres added a new variable into the mix last year, this will be evened out a little now that we can only use the tyres on the Sunday," he added.

The championship will once again face a change of format this weekend with the Dunlop control tyre to be utilised during the 120km Saturday race before the cars are allocated one set of soft compound tyres for use in Sunday's 200km race. The key to success for any team will be judging just when to put on the all important soft compound tyres.

Hidden Valley will also be the first time all teams will use the control camshaft, which is set to shake-up the field.

-source: teamvodafone

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Series Supercars
Drivers Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup