COURTNEY THIRD FOR CALTEX RACING IN QUEENSLAND Caltex Racing's James Courtney has led the charge for the Caltex Racing crew, placing third in the first of three sprint races to be run this weekend for round seven of the V8 Supercar championship...
COURTNEY THIRD FOR CALTEX RACING IN QUEENSLAND
Caltex Racing's James Courtney has led the charge for the Caltex Racing crew, placing third in the first of three sprint races to be run this weekend for round seven of the V8 Supercar championship at Queensland Raceway.
Courtney, who qualified fourth this morning, had a great stop and a fantastic pass in a race which saw the top ten stay almost static for the majority of the race.
A nail-biting outside pass on Mark Winterbottom at turn four had everyone, including Courtney, on the edge of their seats.
Luckily for Courtney the move paid off, elevating him to third position in which he would eventually finish the race.
While Courtney was hunting third, Jamie Whincup pulled off one of the few position swaps in the top ten when he overtook teammate Craig Lowndes.
Whincup achieved his first ever V8 Supercars pole when he qualified fastest in this morning's session, unfortunately a reshuffle of positions between the starting flag and the first corner saw him slip to third, and then later to fifth.
Despite struggling with front end grip, Whincup had been gaining ground on Lowndes for some laps when he passed him to take fourth position with only three laps remaining.
Lowndes, who qualified 6th, also experienced the same front end grip issues plaguing Whincup, however a small error on his behalf at turn two allowed Whincup to take advantage and take the fourth position.
With overnight work scheduled for Lowndes' #888 machine he hopes to be back on the money come tomorrow's races with increased speed.
Meanwhile, Russell Ingall had perhaps the most eventful final lap of them all, overtaking Mark Winterbottom in the closing corners after the pair enjoyed some dicing over the closing laps.
The move saw Ingall finish as he qualified -- in ninth position -- and preserving his record of having never qualified or placed outside of the top ten at his home-track Queensland Raceway.
This was despite experiencing brake problems in the early stages of the race, which required Ingall to keep a close eye on temperatures and find as much clean air as possible to prevent overheating.
With these issues expected to be sorted overnight the man known as The Enforcer is determined to be on the money come tomorrow's closing races, with the 2005 V8 Supercar series champion keen to get to it without car problems playing on his mind.
The race was won by Garth Tander, followed by Mark Skaife with Courtney in third. Tomorrow's race action will kick off at 11.00am for race one, with the final race set to start at 1.40pm.
Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "It was a pretty good result despite the fact that we had brake problems in the early stages of the race," said Ingall.
"The Caltex crew kept telling me to keep an eye on our temperatures and I had to keep finding clean air so we would not overheat.
"That did not allow us to do as much fighting as I would have liked.
"The brakes are certainly unpredictable when they are like that and the last thing you want to do is have a big lunge and find out you are in trouble.
"I had a good dice with (Mark) Winterbottom there towards the end and it was good to finally get him on the final lap.
"Overall it was an encouraging day and I am sure something we can build on tomorrow.
"It was important to get points in the bank today and to finish with a relatively unmarked car.
"We will work on the brake issue overnight and be ready to come out fighting in the morning.
"It will be important to have a trouble free run in race one with a short turn around time between races. Bring it on."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I got away to a good start and had great pace in the beginning," said Lowndes.
"I sat back and watched the antics on the opening two laps then got past Frosty and through our pit strategy I managed to pass Jamie for fourth.
"The car was consistent but not quite fast enough and we will be making some changes for tomorrow's races."
Jamie Whincup - #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I didn't get the best start, it was a bit slow and that cost me," said Whincup.
"You can never take a top five race result for granted and we still came away with some good points.
"We have a good base to work with and I am sure the team will find a bit more for tomorrow."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "Yeah we wanted it (the home win), we had success here last year and we definitely wanted to turn this year's campaign around this weekend," said Courtney.
"The guys made a really good stop, hopefully we are able to keep them coming tomorrow.
"We didn't quite have the pace on (Tander and Skaife), but towards the end we were pulling away from the guys behind us.
"There will be lots of work to do before tomorrow but hopefully we can come back ready to go.
"Passing (Mark Winterbottom) on the outside all throughout turn four was pretty cool, it is lucky we are friends though otherwise I would have been a bit worried!
"The crew were really happy with how things ended up today, they have been working so hard in the break, basically rebuilding both my car and Russell's car after Darwin, so hopefully we can keep on going tomorrow."