Queensland: Caltex Racing preview

CALTEX AIMING FOR FIVE IN A ROW Caltex-supported drivers have claimed the victory for the past four years and pole position for the past five at Queensland Raceway's round of the V8 Supercar Championship. With Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes...

CALTEX AIMING FOR FIVE IN A ROW

Caltex-supported drivers have claimed the victory for the past four years and pole position for the past five at Queensland Raceway's round of the V8 Supercar Championship.

With Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes 'hot to trot' winning the previous two rounds at Winton and Darwin, and defending series champion Russell Ingall buoyed in confidence following a recent test day, the pair are aiming to continue Caltex's run of success this weekend.

"I'm looking forward to our home race. We had great success at this event last year and it has proven to be a very successful circuit for Ford over the past five years," Lowndes said.

"This year will be considerably different because of the three race format and this is a track where the weather will again dictate setup more than the track layout."

Ingall's former team-mate Marcos Ambrose qualified on pole position for the past five years at Queensland Raceway aboard his Caltex-supported Falcon. With Ambrose making the move into the American NASCAR ranks in 2006, the door is open for a new pole sitter for the Queensland Raceway round.

In the nine sprint and endurance events held at Queensland Raceway since 1999, Ingall has only finished worse than fifth overall once and has never been outside the top 10.

Ironically, Ingall won his first championship round for Ford and Caltex at Queensland Raceway with Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) in 2003.

Ambrose finished second to give the team its first 1-2 in V8 Supercar competition.

"There is no doubt racing on your home test track is always an advantage, but with the calibre of drivers and teams in this championship, it never takes long for the guys from down South to come to grips with it," said Ingall.

"I have never really been a fan of QR, but it has looked after me reasonably well."

Ingall and team-mate James Courtney tested alongside Lowndes and team-mate Jamie Whincup at the 3.12km circuit last week with all drivers amongst the fastest in attendance at the Ipswich venue.

"We certainly made progress in last week's test," said Ingall.

"In the previous test here it rained and we really wasted a day, but I think we managed to make some real progress last week and that should help us be a little more consistent.

"There is no doubt that we still need to find car speed. I guess the consolation is that we are still fourth in the championship, but we know there is still a lot more we can extract from the Caltex Ford."

Entering this weekend's round Lowndes is second in the chase for the championship, a mere eight points adrift of points leader Garth Tander. Ingall is in fourth position with Whincup ninth and Courtney 24th.

For the first time since 2000 the Queensland Raceway round will consist of three sprint races. The first 30-lap fixture will be featured on Saturday afternoon and a pair of 45-lap journeys on Sunday, the first of which will be started in a reverse-grid format.

-cr-

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup