COURTNEY FASTEST CALTEX DRIVER AT ORAN PARK James Courtney has started the Jim Beam 400, round eight of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, with encouraging speed by posting the tenth fastest time during practice at Oran Park Raceway this...
COURTNEY FASTEST CALTEX DRIVER AT ORAN PARK
James Courtney has started the Jim Beam 400, round eight of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series, with encouraging speed by posting the tenth fastest time during practice at Oran Park Raceway this afternoon.
Courtney, who recorded his career first podium at the corresponding round last year, started the session off well to be placed inside the top five during the first half of the 2 ½ hour, limited lap, session.
While Courtney enjoyed his spot inside the top ten Jamie Whincup placed just outside of it, coming home with the eleventh fastest time today.
Whincup -- who was on track for a podium finish here last year before an engine fire in the final -- battled with setup issues, used tyres and less than optimal health caused by a virus from earlier in the week.
While Whincup pushed on, his Team Vodafone teammate and the 2006 Oran Park round winner Craig Lowndes held on for 16th fastest.
While not battling illness, Lowndes was in the same boat as his Team Vodafone teammate with the setup of his car not producing the results expected for last year's Oran Park round winner.
After sitting as high as tenth fastest with only 30 minutes remaining in today's session, Lowndes and his Caltex-backed Team Vodafone Falcon were eventually relegated to 16th.
Meanwhile, Courtney's Stone Brothers Racing teammate Russell Ingall was battling away further back in the field, coming home 22nd fastest after struggling with setup issues throughout the session.
Whilst many of his opposition fitted new tyres to their cars in order to post fast times, Ingall elected to remain on used tyres while searching for the optimum setup. With this in mind Ingall is confident of being higher up the order during qualifying tomorrow.
Caltex-backed drivers have won the past four tilts here at Oran Park, with Marcos Ambrose taking the round in 2003 and 2004, to be followed by Ingall in 2005 and then Lowndes in 2006.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We just couldn't nail a set up today. We tried some things that didn't come off so we need to have a look at that tonight and go back to what we know," said Ingall.
"We didn't run new tyres today where as a lot of the guys up the front did. We won't have the whole picture until qualifying tomorrow.
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "We didn't use green tyres in the practice session, so we know there is a lot more to come," explained Lowndes.
"We made a lot of changes, some of which made sense of the balance issues we were having."
"For the three races you need a good flowing car, which we are still trying to piece together. We'll sit down overnight and focus our efforts on improving for qualifying tomorrow."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I still didn't feel 100% today but I did feel better than I had expected at the end of the session which is encouraging for tomorrow," said Whincup.
"Like Craig, we have a bit of homework to do tonight. We have been fast here in the past so I am not too concerned at this stage."
"On paper it looks like we are a long way off, but in reality we are a lot more competitive than today's results reflect."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The new JELD-WEN car was really quick out of the box. We went straight to the top and stayed in the top three for most of the session," said Courtney.
"Just at the end we dropped back when everyone put good tyres on. We didn't have that luxury today.
"We knew we had a pretty good package and didn't have to show our hand today. We'll keep it in our pocket and show it tomorrow."