INGALL EXTENDS LEAD - LOWNDES THIRD Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has extended his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series after finishing sixth outright in round three at Wanneroo Raceway near Perth today. Fellow Caltex...
INGALL EXTENDS LEAD - LOWNDES THIRD
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has extended his lead in this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series after finishing sixth outright in round three at Wanneroo Raceway near Perth today.
Fellow Caltex ambassador Crag Lowndes also climbed his way up the championship table to fifth after a third outright for the weekend in his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon.
Ingall finished 10th in yesterday's opening race in his Caltex Falcon after starting 17th.
In today's opening reverse grid race he worked his way through the field and eventually finished eighth after starting 22nd.
The reigning V8 Supercar champion, Ingall started seventh in the final race of the day and ran as high as fourth before deteriorating tyres saw him loose a couple of spots in the dying stages of the race.
Ingall now leads the championship on 790 points from Garth Tander (776), Steve Richards (772), Todd Kelly (763) and Lowndes (710). He led Rick Kelly by one point before the weekend.
Things started OK for Ingall's Stone Brothers Racing teammate James Courtney when he finished fifth in the opening reverse grid race, but things went sour from there.
Courtney was looking for a strong top 10 result in the last race when his Jeld-Wen Falcon expired on lap 29 of the 58-lap race while coming down the back straight.
Lowndes returned to the podium in sensational fashion claiming third overall after finishing the notorious reverse grid race 14th and a close second in the final race of the day.
Lowndes' team mate Jamie Whincup recovered well in the reverse grid race to finish fourth and after starting from 16th on the grid climbed seven places to ninth in the final race and 10th overall for the round.
With a sluggish qualifying result and a lower order finish in race one Whincup's focus was clearly on keeping the car smooth and out of trouble in today's two races.
The weekend was won by Steve Richards for the second consecutive year from Mark Skaife and Lowndes.
All four Caltex-backed cars showed good speed over the weekend and that can only help build confidence with the next round of the championship at Winton in North-East Victoria on June 2-4.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY----
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"We didn't have the car to fight for the win today," said Ingall.
"The next best thing was to finish in front of the biggest championship contenders and we were able to do that.
"There was not one team that wasn't chasing set up today, the conditions of this track are so changeable. In the end it came down to who bolted the best set up on the car on the day.
"Even though we struggled this weekend, we extended our championship lead. Still, SBR will not rest as we want to win the championship by winning races.
"The next three weeks before Winton will be very intense to come up with a car that can change that."
CRAIG LOWNES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"After New Zealand I was concerned about the maturity of some of the drivers in our championship however the results from race two today indicate that we are all approaching this race with a much higher degree of caution," said Lowndes.
"I found today's reverse grid tough, and really had my work cut out for me as our strategy just wasn't quite up to par.
"It was good back up the front for race three but our cold tyre speed still leaves us with room for improvement.
"I had a great race with Mark (Skaife) in the dying stages of that final race. I am sure he had nothing left and I know we didn't.
"I made a small mistake on the last lap and that took away any chance of having a good at him for the win. That's the way it goes."
JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN RACING
"It is pretty upsetting," said Courtney, after hoping from his car, which was left stranded at the entrance to pit lane.
"We had two pretty good races and were looking at getting a good bag of points.
"We were going well and catching Russell (Ingall) at bit when it let go coming over the top (of the back straight).
"I am becoming more familiar with the car and that is making things a little easier.
"I guess we just need to re-group and head on to the next one."
JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"I am disappointed that I didn't start the weekend higher in the order" Whincup said. "But the great thing about this team is that they analyse well and gave me plenty of options for improvement.
"Today I really wanted to maintain a good racing line and consistently lap to regain some confidence.
"We achieved our goal of accumulating championship points and maintained momentum in the Teams Championship.
"I am looking forward to round four where I am confident the Winton track conditions will better suit our chassis setups," Whincup added.