CALTEX DRIVERS SHINE AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has secured a podium at Round 6 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series to lead the charge of Caltex drivers at Queensland Raceway today. Lowndes drove his Caltex-backed...
CALTEX DRIVERS SHINE AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes has secured a podium at Round 6 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series to lead the charge of Caltex drivers at Queensland Raceway today.
Lowndes drove his Caltex-backed Team Betta Electrical Falcon to third overall for the round to maintain second place in the championship.
The three-time V8 Supercar Champion was sixth in this morning's reverse grid race, putting him on the second row of the grid for the start of Race 3.
After running in second place in the early stages, Lowndes eventually finished in fourth in Race 3, putting the Caltex Ambassador third for the round.
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall was a solid fifth for the round, maintaining fourth in the championship and keeping his title defence on track heading into the second half of the season.
Ingall was 10th in the reverse grid Race 2, but had his Caltex Racing Falcon more to his liking in the third event. The defending V8 Supercar Champion was one of the last of the front-running cars to pit in Race 3, a strategy that saw the Caltex driver finish right on the tail of Lowndes.
Jamie Whincup was another Caltex-backed driver to figure in the top 10. The Clipsal 500 winner suffered brake problems in the Caltex-backed Betta Electrical Falcon in Race 2, but was back on track in Race 3, coming home eighth to finish ninth overall for the round.
James Courtney had a bittersweet day in the Jeld-Wen Motorsport Falcon -- lubricated by Caltex. The rookie showed that he is a force on the V8 Supercar scene by driving from near the rear of the grid to finish third in the reverse grid race, earning second on the grid for the start of Race 3.
Courtney was passed by Lowndes for second on the opening lap, but settled into a groove in third and the Caltex-backed driver then jumped back in front of Lowndes as the pit stop sequences played out.
However, Courtney's run ended on lap 23 when the Jeld-Wen Falcon pitted with engine problems, finishing his campaign at roughly half-race distance. Despite the DNF, Courtney's superb efforts in the first two races put him 13th overall for the round.
Garth Tander won today's round, with Ford drivers Jason Bright and Lowndes rounding out the podium. Tander maintains his championship lead over Lowndes, with Rick Kelly third and Caltex Racing's Ingall fourth.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"We are doing well for the car speed that we have; we have reliability, we have finished every lap of every race this year, we haven't had any incidents," said Ingall.
"So on that side of it, that's what's been keeping us on top of it. But sooner or later we have to find the pace to win races. On the positive side we've got the pace back to run with Triple Eight and FPR, who have been quicker than us this year.
"That's the first part of the process; the next part is to get up to the HSV cars. We have to find that missing two or three tenths to keep with them. They have tons of power and that was very evident this weekend, it was a talking point around the pits.
"Ross Stone has said that we will step up the engine program and find more horsepower. While that's happening we can develop the chassis even more.
"We have some pretty friendly tracks coming up, we won Oran Park last year, we set the lap record at Indy. But we are going to need fast engines when we get to the pure power tracks like Sandown and Bathurst.
"That's the game plan and if we can do that there is every chance that we can fight pretty hard at the end of the championship."
CRAIG LOWNDES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"It was a tough weekend and we didn't quite get our car set-up right," said Lowndes.
"The reverse grid race wasn't too bad but while we fixed one end of the car the other was still hurting us. Our car was definitely at its best in race three however I got caught out on some oil and relinquished a spot to Jason Bright, which I wasn't able to get back.
"We are still second in the championship and there is a long way and a lot of points to go,"
JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN MOTORSPORT
"After two thirds in race one and two, we were looking at a podium finish," said Courtney.
"Obviously we are pretty disappointed that we couldn't finish it off but the team and myself are happier for the results this weekend.
"In race three I didn't have to push too hard, I was keeping the guys behind me at bay relatively easily. To finish on the podium would have been a great present for the guys but it just didn't quite come off.
"At first I thought that I had a flat in the left rear but that must have been oil on the tyre from the engine. For a minute the engine came right but then it let go.
"We are using the new D3 engine so I guess sometimes these things happen when you are developing new things.
"It was still a really positive weekend for us and I can't wait to get to Oran Park now and have another crack at it."
JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"It was certainly an eventful weekend," said Whincup.
"But I have to say for me personally there were a lot of positives and I seemed to overcome a lot of my previous weaknesses. I qualified well, my starts were good and our brake problem was only caused through trying to avoid other people's incidents.
"I met my goals of finishing in the top ten this weekend and managed to move up the championship order in the process."