Phillip Island: TeamVodafone Saturday notes

TeamVodafone to start tomorrow's L&H500 from the front row of the grid TeamVodafone's car ...

TeamVodafone to start tomorrow's L&H500 from the front row of the grid

TeamVodafone's car #888 pairing of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup will start tomorrow's L&H 500 at Phillip Island from second on the grid after amassing 62 points across today's two 14-lap sprint races.

Lowndes qualified eighth for his race and was initially touted to take the car's single compulsory pitstop. A great start elevated him to fifth on the opening lap and he was up into second by Lap 6, forcing a change in strategy which saw the pitstop duties handed to Whincup.

Despite catching and applying pressure to race leader Todd Kelly, Lowndes was unable to find a way past him, finishing the race second. "Given our qualifying that was a great result for both of us," Lowndes said. "We transformed the car into a good race car which did everything we needed.

"It really looked after its tyres which gives us a lot of confidence ahead tomorrows 113 lap race."

With 17 cars pitting in the first race, Whincup had his work cut out for him and was sitting seventh when he entered the pits on Lap 9 of his race. The TeamVodafone driver enjoyed a fantastic pitstop that saw him overtake the HRT car of Tander/Davison and finish first of the pitting cars in 19th.

"We are still trying to find a balance in the car between Craig and myself and we need to improve our pace slightly to match our main rivals," Whincup said.

"In hindsight we probably should have stopped in the first race but I am certainly not complaining about a front row start."

On the opposite side of the garage their European counterparts Alan Simonsen and James Thompson will start a respectable 23rd after a sensational drive by Simonsen from 17th up to tenth in the first race.

"I was very happy with my race," said Simonsen. "I got a great start and had some good opening laps."

"I felt the car lacked outright pace which I think may be solved by some engine re-mapping but overall it was good to get back in a V8 and make a solid start."

In his Australian race debut James Thompson started 21st and was sitting 16th at the time of his pitstop. The multiple BTCC Champion stayed out of trouble and lapped consistently to finish his race 26th.

"It was a great experience and it feels good to get my first race out of the way," Thompson explained

"I was pleased with my race and relieved to bring the car back in one piece. Now I am really looking forward to tomorrow."

The V8 Supercars will take to the track for a 20 minute warmup at 10.25am ahead of the L&H 500 which gets underway at 1.35pm.

-credit: tv

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Thompson , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Phillip Island