CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING FOR HOME GROUND ADVANTAGE IN QUEENSLAND Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall will be looking lead the way for the Caltex-backed drivers as the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series reaches the half way mark in round seven at the...
CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING FOR HOME GROUND ADVANTAGE IN QUEENSLAND
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall will be looking lead the way for the Caltex-backed drivers as the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series reaches the half way mark in round seven at the Queensland Raceway this weekend.
Ingall has enjoyed an impressive record at the Ipswich circuit by finishing inside the top five in nine out of the ten rounds contested there since 1999. He was the winner of the corresponding round in 2003 and has finished on the podium on another two occasions.
Caltex-backed drivers have taken the victory at Queensland Raceway in four of the past five years.
With the venue being the home track for Ingall, his team-mate James Courtney and fellow Caltex-backed drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, the quartet will be aiming to continue their supremacy around the 3.12km circuit.
After a tough weekend in Darwin, which resulted in severe damage to his car on two occasions, Courtney will be hoping that some of the Caltex 'luck' will go his way this weekend to assist him in gaining a good result and hopefully climb onto the podium.
Whincup, who is currently the leading Ford driver in the championship standings is this weekend making his 50th round start aboard a V8 Supercar. Ironically it is at the same venue where he started his first race in Australia's premier motorsport category.
In just four seasons of competition, the then touring car debutant has graduated to superstar status, a feared and respected competitor on track and one of Ford's leading championship contenders.
Add in victories at the grueling Bathurst 1000 and Clipsal 500 events and the foundations are set for the making of one of the nation's greats.
Whincup is one of only two Ford drivers to win a round of the championship in 2007, with team-mate Lowndes joining him in the winner's circle at Hidden Valley last month.
A total of 30 V8 Supercar drivers will line up for practice on Friday afternoon which will be followed by qualifying on Saturday morning and the opening 38-lap race in the afternoon. Sunday will be highlighted by a further two races at 11:00am and 1:40pm.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "The 'home track advantage' is a fallacy in today's V8 Supercar environment. It's really non-existent; all the teams are so professional now and it takes no more than half-a-dozen laps for teams to come to grips with the circuit," said Ingall.
"It really comes down to the team and driver picking the best set up in the time allocated.
"The SBR guys did a great job getting the cars repaired after Darwin. Not being able to test before Queensland Raceway will set us back a bit but we didn't have a choice given the damage we suffered at Darwin. It's a better option to fix the cars properly than do half the job for the sake of a test."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "After another successful test day last week I'm really looking forward to what is referred to as my 'home round' this weekend," said Lowndes.
"I won the round a couple of years ago and after winning in the previous round in Darwin I'm hungry for further success.
"Over the past couple of rounds the team has made a lot of ground on the championship pace setters and I'm confident we will be able close the gap in the points standings throughout the weekend."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "To reach the half-century mark is a solid achievement, it's been an amazing ride to get to where I am now and I am really focused on consistently improving each time we go out there," said Whincup.
"I have learnt a lot from those around me, teammates, team members, on-track rivals, the list is endless. It's great to be a part of such a successful operation at Triple Eight, the team is doing all it can to keep me in the championship picture and we are only going to get stronger.
"We've got great car speed and last week's test only confirmed that the cars are amongst the quickest out there.
"If you can do well at Queensland Raceway you can do well anywhere. We are now matching the pace of HRT and HSVDT, hopefully with more to come."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "SBR is due for a change of luck; we have had a shocking couple of rounds," said Courtney.
"Queensland Raceway has been a good track for us in the past. It has deteriorated a bit in the last year; the bumps are more aggressive so hopefully they might catch the Melbourne-based teams out.
"We are confident with the changes we have made to the car since Darwin. When we decided not to test, the guys worked hard to build a few new things for the cars and get them just right for this round.
"We will be at a bit of a disadvantage that we missed the test but we have done plenty of laps there so it's not a big drama."