Hidden Valley: WPS Racing Saturday report

SOLID START FOR WPS IN TOP END WPS Racing's Max Wilson and Jason Bargwanna put in a solid performance during qualifying and the opening race of the Sky City Triple Crown, round five of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship, in Darwin...

SOLID START FOR WPS IN TOP END

WPS Racing's Max Wilson and Jason Bargwanna put in a solid performance during qualifying and the opening race of the Sky City Triple Crown, round five of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship, in Darwin today.

Wilson, 33, narrowly missed out on a berth in his second top ten shootout of the year by setting the 12th fastest time during this morning's qualifying. His time was 0.1374 seconds behind the 10th fastest set by Paul Dumbrell and just over half a second behind the fastest time set by Mark Skaife.

The ex-Formula One test driver quickly moved into the top ten during the opening laps of this afternoon's 34-lap race while his WPS Racing team-mate was also on the move, Bargwanna climbing inside the top 15 just after half race distance.

Unfortunately for Bargwanna his race turned pear-shaped when he was spun by Greg Murphy on lap 25, dropping him down seven positions. Murphy received a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident.

As Bargwanna fought back, Wilson was engaged in a closely fought battle for positions nine through to 11 with Russell Ingall and Jamie Whincup

Wilson crossed the line 11th and Bargwanna recovered from his spin to finish 21st.

Today's race was won by Mark Skaife ahead of Rick Kelly and Mark Winterbottom. Pole-sitter, and early race leader, Jason Bright was forced to make an unscheduled stop to replace a flat left front tyre which effectively dropped him out of contention.

Wilson and Bargwanna will start tomorrow's opening 48-lap reverse-grid race, from 21st and 11th respectively. The final race of the round will be conducted tomorrow afternoon.

Max Wilson -- #8 WPS Racing Falcon

"The WPS Racing Falcon was competitive during qualifying and I only missed the top ten shootout by just over a tenth of a second," said Wilson.

"My times were very competitive for the first half of the race, I think the fact that I set the ninth fastest lap time supports this.

"Unfortunately I couldn't maintain this pace over the duration for the race as I seemed to use up my rear tyres up a bit, this is something we'll need to work on tomorrow's longer races.

"We'll sit down tonight and analyse the data and make some changes for tomorrow's longer races and hopefully we'll get another couple of solid results which will in turn produce another top ten round finish."

Jason Bargwanna -- #10 WPS Racing Falcon

"I had the speed to finish inside the top half of the field, which would have been a reasonable result to start the weekend with, but unfortunately I got turned around by (Greg) Murphy at the hairpin on lap 21 which cost me seven spots," said Bargwanna.

"The aim now is to keep out of trouble and gain a good result in tomorrow's reverse grid race which should hopefully put me in a reasonable position for the final race of the round."

Mark Larkham -- Team Principal

"I think today was a pretty solid result, I mean you've got to be smart about Saturday's race there is two more to go and Sunday is where the result will be," said Larkham.

"I'm really disappointed for Bargs, he got served up there by (Greg) Murphy from behind which cost him numerous positions and if it wasn't for that incident I think we would have had two cars inside the top 15 which would have been a good start for tomorrow.

"We'll take what we've learnt from that race and apply it for the setups for tomorrow and I reckon we'll be in reasonably good shape.

"However, one thing that is for sure, rear tyre life over the longer duration of the races tomorrow is going to be a difficult thing to deal with and we need to do a little bit more work there yet and will probably be the area we'll be focusing hardest on tonight."

-wps-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , Greg Murphy , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Mark Larkham , Jason Bargwanna , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Paul Dumbrell