LOWNDES ON TRACK FOR TRIPLE EIGHT TRIFECTA Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes is aiming to notch up another round victory for the Blue Oval this weekend, and his bid for three straight will be held on home turf. Ipswich's Queensland...
LOWNDES ON TRACK FOR TRIPLE EIGHT TRIFECTA
Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes is aiming to notch up another round victory for the Blue Oval this weekend, and his bid for three straight will be held on home turf.
Ipswich's Queensland Raceway will host round six of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and Lowndes has his sights set on defending his 2005 crown as well as challenging for the outright series lead.
Interestingly, Lowndes was the last driver to win at the 'Paperclip' in a Ford Falcon (2005), and was also the last driver to win in a Holden Commodore (2000).
The only multiple-round victor of 2006 will be far from complacent though as he prepares to contest the BigPond 400, which will feature the current three-race sprint format including a reverse grid contest for race two.
The 32-year-old hopes to deliver the win for his Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering team, as well as keeping Ford's stranglehold on the 3.12km track alive.
"I am 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 given the three race format and again this is a track where weather will dictate setup more than the track layout."
"We are all looking forward to getting to racing in front of a home crowd and I expect there will be a big turnout of Triple Eight fans."
Lowndes also applauded the recent decision by V8 Supercars Australia to revert back to conventional racing for the final four rounds of the championship.
"I think the correct decision was made regarding the format of our reverse grid races from Indy onwards, this will now allow for a tough, even playing field at the most crucial part of the season," Lowndes commented.
Lowndes' Winton and Hidden Valley victories have propelled the former champion to top rungs of the highly-competitive championship ladder, where he trails Holden's Garth Tander by just 8 points.
The team's #888 and #88 Falcons have turned hundreds of laps of the circuit at their allocated test days this season, which will provide a valuable insight into the setup of their racecars as the field first hits the track for the extended Friday practice session.
Jamie Whincup is aiming to compliment his strong performance at Hidden Valley with a top 5 finish at home, the 23-year-old confident of the team's handle on their test track.
Whincup has forged a solid working knowledge of his Falcon, which he feels often becomes easier to drive as the laps tick over.
"I am very confident we are heading into this weekend with a fast competitive car," Whincup said.
"We had an extremely productive test day last week where we found answers to some of the questions we had asked ourselves over the past three rounds."
"Queensland Raceway is our test track so you think it would be easy to run in the top ten but the reality is there are a lot of other teams that also test here and it is a track that constantly changes."
"It is going to come down to whoever best tunes their car on the day and I am certain we will be right up there," Whincup added.
Whincup sits 9th in current series placings and remains in close touch with the drivers just ahead of him; the combined efforts of both Lowndes and Whincup also keep Team Betta Electrical in 2nd place in the Teams Championship.