TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL SEEKING A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE AT BARBAGALLO Team Betta Electrical are aiming for an error-free run to the flag at round 3 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Barbagallo May 12-14, with point scoring the top ...
TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL SEEKING A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE AT BARBAGALLO
Team Betta Electrical are aiming for an error-free run to the flag at round 3 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Barbagallo May 12-14, with point scoring the top priority.
Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are looking to capitalise on the tremendous pace the team had at the track in 2005 from the outset of the weekend, and will face a challenging test of race and pit strategy across the three sprints, including the second reverse grid showdown for the year.
Lowndes claimed pole at the iconic West Australian circuit last season, and will look to emanate his Top Ten Shootout performance in his second year piloting a Triple Eight Race Engineered Ford Falcon.
The 31-year-old boasts the best round win record of the V8 Supercar era at the sandy 2.415km track and would like nothing more than to take his tally to 5 overall victories, but is pre-empting a race where clean and measured driving will be on equal par with outright speed.
"There's no questioning the pace of the Triple Eight Falcons at Barbagallo with our pole here last year, but it will come down to keeping a straight car and avoiding incidents that will ultimately decide the winner," said Lowndes.
"The reverse grid race adds a real element of uncertainty into the round so it's very important to finish well in the first race and obviously follow this up in the final.
"It was great to come away from New Zealand and climb into the top ten, now its just a case of building on the points tally and working towards the lead guys," he said.
It was an up and down start to the season for championship favourite Lowndes, who scored a race win followed by a DNF on the streets of Adelaide, which left him languishing mid-pack in the series points chase.
A brilliant drive to 4th overall at Pukekohe despite a controversial drive-through penalty boosted him to 8th place in the championship, and he looks well positioned to attack this weekend.
"It's a great track and always produces some spectacular racing, and there's a fine line between racing right on the edge and spearing off into the sand," Lowndes added.
"With a bit of luck we'll come away with a top result."
23-year-old Jamie Whincup's series campaign faltered slightly at New Zealand after a flawless performance at Adelaide, but he is still handily placed in the overall standings in 6th.
Whincup experienced first-hand the result of an awkward incident between reverse grid race leaders, and limped away from the lap 1 chaos with a battle-scarred Team Betta Electrical Falcon.
Eager to erase the points deficit to the top 5, Whincup (placed in 6th) is adopting a similar mindset to teammate Lowndes when it comes to the weekend, putting emphasis on error-free racing from start to finish.
"There are realistically 10-12 drivers out there who are capable of winning the round, and it will come down to those who get a clean run and can survive the reverse grid race with maximum points intact," explained Whincup.
"The car is lightning fast and the team have a proven handle on the race setup at Barbagallo, so we are pretty well prepared."
"I'm looking forward to getting out there and racing with the leaders again, I've had a good taste of how it feels to come home first and I could really get used to it.
"Next weekend will be about chipping back at the top 5 and using the speed of the car to best manage my starting position for the all important final race," Whincup added.
The Brisbane-based squad sits well-placed in 3rd in the Teams Championship, and is proudly flying the flag as the leading Ford team.
The V8 Supercar action gets underway at Barbagallo on Friday 12 May, with drivers able to complete up to 50 laps under free practice. Saturday features qualifying and Top Ten Shootout action, with race 1 (120kms) run in the afternoon.
Sunday features an opening reverse grid race (140kms), where starting positions are determined by reversing the finishing order from the opening race; half points only are on offer for the placings. The grid for race 3 is determined by combining both results, and full points are awarded to the winner of this 140km final sprint.