Perth: TeamVodafone preview

Lowndes and Whincup chase success in the West TeamVodafone are aiming to cover the podium with chrome and red at this weekend's round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, with both Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup confident of challenging for...

Lowndes and Whincup chase success in the West

TeamVodafone are aiming to cover the podium with chrome and red at this weekend's round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, with both Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup confident of challenging for the top spot from the moment the cars roll from the transporter.

The Team's B-Double has departed its Bowen Hills workshop in Brisbane for Barbagallo Raceway, for the second round of the year and will travel approximately 4450km before arriving in Perth on Wednesday.

Situated in a dry and sandy region inland from the state's capital city, the 2.415km circuit is notorious for its low grip levels, making the need to lap cleanly and consistently on the racing line paramount for drivers.

The sub one-minute lap times create an extra element of pressure, placing emphasis on a mistake-free run on track and a swift pit stop; dropping a lap on the leaders will almost certainly put pay to a good result.

Craig Lowndes set the current V8 Supercar qualifying record at the circuit in his first year with Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2005, and said he would be pushing for speed to ensure a clean progression through the new elimination-style qualifying format.

"Barbagallo Raceway is probably the hardest track to qualify on as you have 31 cars all lapping within a second on a relatively small circuit," Lowndes said.

"We are going to have to be on the pace from the start and it will be critical to get a good lap early on in the first section."

Two top three finishes from three races in 2006 at Barbagallo ensures the team is confident when it comes to car setup.

Speed and consistency will be vital if Lowndes is to turn around his average Clipsal result and blast back into the series top 10. He currently sits in 13th, on 15 points.

"I am very confident we will see a major improvement, the issues we had in Adelaide have been rectified and we know we have a good race package for Barbagallo."

"The one thing we will need to watch is tyre wear, as we are visiting the track two months earlier than normal there is a good chance that temperatures could reach the high 30's," Lowndes commented.

Jamie Whincup is coming off a particularly pleasing result at the Clipsal 500, where he stood on the podium for the first leg and finished 5th in the second to begin his championship campaign in 4th place.

With 45 points next to his name, the young star has quickly established himself as a top contender for the season, and believes his improved level of fitness has been a major contributing factor.

"Being race fit has never been so important for a driver," said Whincup. "With cars so equal in lap times and performance, everyone is searching for an edge over the competition, and physical and mental fitness plays a major role."

"I'm looking forward to racing at Barbagallo, I definitely want to improve on last year's result and build on the championship point score we earned at Adelaide."

"Good car balance is really important, as you need to be able to drive precisely on the racing line to get maximum power down."

TeamVodafone is looking forward to climbing back up the Team's Championship ladder too, where it currently sits in 4th place.

-credit: tv

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup
Teams Triple Eight Race Engineering