COURTNEY LEADS THE CALTEX CHARGE IN PUKEKOHE PRACTICE Young gun James Courtney has led the charge for the Caltex drivers during practice at the PlaceMakers V8 Supercar event, round three of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship, in New Zealand ...
COURTNEY LEADS THE CALTEX CHARGE IN PUKEKOHE PRACTICE
Young gun James Courtney has led the charge for the Caltex drivers during practice at the PlaceMakers V8 Supercar event, round three of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship, in New Zealand today.
Courtney finished today's practice session with the second fastest time around the 2.8km Pukekohe circuit, five positions ahead of his team-mate Russell Ingall who set the seventh fastest time in his Caltex Racing Falcon.
Ingall's time was impressive considering he lost a considerable amount of time as his crew repaired the differential which was damaged during an off-track excursion early in the session.
One position ahead of Ingall at the completion of the 2 ½ hour limited lap session was multiple V8 Supercar Champion Craig Lowndes with a time of 56.2738 seconds in his Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon.
Ninth quickest today and only a tenth of a second slower than his teammate, Jamie Whincup was delighted with his Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon and commented the team's recent test day had been crucial in getting the car setup back on track.
Todd Kelly set the fastest time today ahead of Courtney and Mark Winterbottom.
Tomorrow's action will consist of qualifying in the morning followed by the opening 43-lap race of the round in the afternoon. A pair of 43-lap feature races will be the highlight for Sunday's action.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We had a reasonable start today despite losing a lot of track time," said Ingall.
"I made a small mistake and fell off the track, unfortunately damaging the diff which took some time to fix.
"Once we got back out in the second part of practice, we were back on it pretty quickly.
"We are still not quite quick enough. James (Courtney) is obviously carrying good speed so we will throw in his set up for qualifying; there's no need to reinvent the wheel."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The car was reasonably good straight up but we lacked a little bit of drive which we worked on throughout the session," said Lowndes.
"Ninety percent the changes we made today were good, however there were a couple that sent us momentarily in the wrong direction.
"When we put the second set of new tyres on the car it responded like we had hoped but I made a small mistake and locked up coming out of Turn 5 which cost us a better time.
"There is definitely more time left in both me and the car."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "The car is exceptionally good," said Whincup.
"We have definitely got the car back on track.
"The timesheet really doesn't show the cars true performance as we were continually held up during the final laps of that session.
"We are still looking for a little bit more high speed stability but pay day is tomorrow."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The crew had a lot of work to do over the break since Barbagallo, getting a new front and new side finished on the car," said Courtney.
"We decided to work hard in the shop and get some new parts on the car this weekend rather than test and it's worked really well so far.
"The JELD-WEN Falcon felt really strong. There are a few areas where we feel we can pick up more time but overall the package feels good.
"We were doing some fast times on old tyres in today's practice session. The lap times remained pretty consistent. It seems that we have a good race car as well as a fast qualifying car so the signs are good."