CO-DRIVER ASSESSMENTS ARE "RUBBISH" Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has labeled recent co-driver assessments for this weekend's Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as "rubbish". Many critics in recent weeks have claimed that to win this weekend's...
CO-DRIVER ASSESSMENTS ARE "RUBBISH"
Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall has labeled recent co-driver assessments for this weekend's Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as "rubbish".
Many critics in recent weeks have claimed that to win this weekend's "Great Race" a team will need to consist of two drivers who are full-time competitors in the V8 Supercar Championship Series -- a claim Ingall fiercely refutes.
Ingall a former two-time champion will drive this weekend's event with talented youngster Luke Youlden who is a regular in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Porsche Carrera Cup Series, a former driver in the HPDC V8 Development Series and a former top-three finisher at both the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 and Bathurst.
"This race is about being consistent and making sure you are around and have a fast car for the last hour of the race, although plenty of drivers forget that," said Ingall.
"Luke is a terrific young driver who is more than capable of doing the job asked of him this weekend.
"He has been on the podium at Sandown and Bathurst previously and hopefully we can get his hand on the winner's trophy on Sunday afternoon.
"It was only three years ago that (Mark) Skaife won the race with Jim Richards and he was not a full-time V8 Supercar driver. The game has not changed that much since then.
"Only a month ago (Craig) Lowndes won Sandown with a European-based driver, so I think anyone trying to put us off our game with talk of full-time driver combination scenarios is talking rubbish.
"People also forget that I was basically a rookie V8 Supercar driver when I won my first race at Bathurst in 1995 after returning home from Europe.
"I think I am going to Bathurst with one of my best chances of winning since clinching the deal in 1997."
Ingall currently sits second in the championship to his Stone Brothers Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose by 78 points.
In this year's championship, drivers will drop their worst round from the opening 10 events and be left with a race to the title over the final three events at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast, at the Ferodo Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains in Tasmania and at the BigPond Finale at Phillip Island in Victoria.
When you apply that rule to the first nine rounds, Ambrose leads Ingall by just 58 points, or the equivalent of 15 positions at Bathurst.
Originally tagged "The Enforcer" for his aggressive, hard-racing style, Ingall will be taking his most relaxed off-the-track attitude ever into this weekend's race.
He knows that a strong result this weekend will keep him in the hunt for his maiden title after being runner-up four times previously.
"It would be safe to say that this will be my most low-key approach to a Bathurst ever," said Ingall.
"I will be treating it almost as an exhibition race. Just turn up, roar around, qualify the thing, race and go home.
"Bathurst has always been a real special place for me and to have won it twice is something I am proud of, but it's the championship I want this year for myself, Caltex, Ford and everyone associated with SBR.
"I think people get caught up in the enormity of the place and have their heads done in before they even get in the car.
"If you start to think about it too much you carry that into the car and that's something you don't want.
"If we are in a position to win it, great, if not I will take all the points I can get and head into the last three rounds knowing I am still a chance at being champion."
There will be an opening two-hour practice session at Mt Panorama tomorrow from 11am-1pm.