Phillip Island: Caltex Racing preview

CALTEX SHOOTS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT PHILLIP ISLAND Caltex will be shooting for an outstanding fourth-straight V8 Supercar Championship for Caltex-backed Falcons this weekend at the Caterpillar Grand Finale in the final...


Caltex will be shooting for an outstanding fourth-straight V8 Supercar Championship for Caltex-backed Falcons this weekend at the Caterpillar Grand Finale in the final round of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island in Victoria.

A championship victory for Craig Lowndes, driving the Caltex-backed #888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Falcon, would follow championship victories for Marcos Ambrose's Caltex-backed Pirtek Falcon in 2003 and 2004, followed by Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall capturing the V8 crown in 2005.

Caltex Ambassador Lowndes lies just seven points behind championship leader Rick Kelly entering the final round of the season and with 320 points available for a driver that wins all three races, the title is well and truly within Lowndes and Caltex's grasp.

Lowndes will be striving for his fourth V8 Supercar Championship at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, a venue where he was a round winner as recently as 2003 as well as taking the opening race of last year's round.

Lowndes and team-mate Jamie Whincup will carry a different livery at Phillip Island this weekend, with 2007 title sponsor Vodafone joining Caltex Havoline on the cars for the final round of the season.

Defending V8 Supercar Champion Ingall will give up his beloved number one after this weekend's round, but there is still much to race for this weekend for the Caltex Racing pilot at Phillip Island.

Ingall remains in mathematical contention for third in the championship and is also chasing his first round win of the season, currently lying a strong fifth in the championship standings.

Ingall clinched his first V8 Supercar championship at Phillip Island last year and was a strong fifth overall for the round. Ingall's experience around the fast and flowing Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit will put him in a good position for his second podium for the season this weekend.

Jamie Whincup will be pushing for his third round win of the season at Phillip Island following breakthrough wins at the Clipsal 500 and Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 this season, his first year in the Caltex-backed Triple Eight Race Engineering Falcon.

Jeld-Wen Motorsport driver James Courtney is buoyed by previous experience heading into the Phillip Island round.

The young gun is experienced around the fast and flowing layout from testing with the Holden Racing Team at the circuit throughout 2005, giving him circuit knowledge not felt at most tracks this season.

Practice starts on Friday for the series final, with qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday and the final two 32-lap races held on Sunday.


Russell Ingall -- #1 Caltex Racing Falcon

"Obviously I've got some great memories of Phillip Island, winning the Championship there last year, and SBR was really strong there 12 months ago," said Ingall.

"But we are in a completely different situation this year. We are going to have to work just as hard, even harder, this weekend to make sure we can take something away from this round and work on it for next year."

Craig Lowndes -- #888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Falcon

"Phillip Island is a track that rewards a set-up that allows the car to flow through the wide open corners and accelerate strongly and smoothly onto the straights," said Lowndes.

"It's one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and I feel I'm actually at my strongest here when it is raining, so I'm hoping for a wet race.

"This will be a true Ford versus Holden battle and the pressure is really going to be on Rick and myself to get the job done.

"He will be hard to beat and I think it will be the case of the last man standing at the end of the weekend, with both the Falcon and Commodore very evenly matched.

"It's great to see strong support from our primary 2007 sponsor Vodafone already making its way onto the cars for Phillip Island, it will give the fans a taste of what is to come next season."

Jamie Whincup -- #88 Triple Eight Race Engineering Falcon

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend's final round, Phillip Island certainly is a driver's track and is enjoyed by many," said Whincup.

"If you get the set-up right for the races, you can give the car everything you have with the confidence that it will stick cleanly to the track, with the corners opening up onto some pretty fast straights.

"It tests all of your skills as a driver and is always a great event to be a part of.

"With a top 10 championship result on the line, I too will be out to 'make the most of now'!"

James Courtney -- #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon

"I've been looking forward to getting to Phillip Island all year," said Ingall.

"I tested there with HRT so it's a track I know well and I really enjoy it. It's a bit like the circuits that I'm used to racing on overseas.

"The Championship is so close now so I'm sure there will be plenty of games going on out there. Without that to worry about hopefully we can get out there and drive off with it and give SBR a great finish to the year."

-credit: caltex racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Phillip Island
Teams Triple Eight Race Engineering , Holden Racing Team