TOP TEN QUALIFYING ACROSS THE BOARD FOR CALTEX RACING AT LEXMARK INDY 300 All four of the Caltex-backed entries in this weekend's Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast have qualified in the top ten in this afternoon's three-leg session,...
TOP TEN QUALIFYING ACROSS THE BOARD FOR CALTEX RACING AT LEXMARK INDY 300
All four of the Caltex-backed entries in this weekend's Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast have qualified in the top ten in this afternoon's three-leg session, with James Courtney leading the way by setting the third quickest time.
Courtney's result saw the Gold Coast 27 year old prove that the speed he showed here last year, before it was ruined by some on-track issues, was not a fluke and will see him start tomorrow's first of three 27 lap races at the pointy end of the grid.
Next for the Caltex contingent and behind Courtney was the pilot of the #88 Team Vodafone Falcon and current championship leader Jamie Whincup.
Whincup and his team-mate Lowndes recently vaulted themselves up the championship standings by taking the win at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 only two weeks ago, aboard the new Team Vodafone Falcon which Whincup is piloting this weekend, while Lowndes and his #888 Team Vodafone Falcon came home seventh fastest.
Ahead of Lowndes however and nipping at Whincup's heels was Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall.
As the steerer of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon Ingall was keen to use every inch of the race-track ahead of this weekend's Lexmark Indy 300, and he showed he was as good as his word by setting some blistering times to place on the third row of the grid.
Ingall was the highest placed of the Caltex stable on the Gold Coast last year, coming home with overall fifth position for the round while Lowndes, Courtney and Whincup placed tenth, 11th and 20th respectively.
Today's sessions saw Mark Winterbottom qualify on pole for a third consecutive round, setting a new lap record along the way.
Tomorrow's V8 Supercar racing action will kick off with the first of three 27 lap tilts on the streets of Surfers Paradise at 4.05pm.
CALTEX QUOTEBOARD Russell Ingall - #9 Caltex Racing Ford Falcon "We didn't punch in a fast enough time with our second set of tyres in leg two so we had to use our last set of green tyres to get through to the last ten," said Ingall.
"It was a bit hairy, we only had one lap to do it in. We grabbed seventh and that got us up there.
"Going into the third leg we had used all three sets of tyres but fifth is certainly very promising.
"The Caltex Falcon seems to be getting faster as the rubber is getting laid down which is the direction we want to go.
"It's especially important around here. By Sunday the track grip basically doubles. If we keep going that way we might not be looking too bad."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I didn't get the best out of the car in the final session of qualifying but overall I am very happy with it as a racecar," said Lowndes.
"The car is definitely improving each session we just need to work the first sector of the track.
"We know it is a good race car across 27 laps and really that is what counts."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "I am very happy with where we are right now," said Whincup.
"Mark (Dutton) did a great job on setup and I am really starting to get used to the new chassis.
"Pit strategy will be crucial tomorrow as there are not a lot of opportunities for passing on this circuit.
"My qualifying lap was not quite as pretty as my new race suit but it is a long weekend and we are starting in a great position."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "The car was good today to do about a 48.9 and then I was able to hang it off the wall for a bit and get a few more tenths out of it," said Courtney.
"The guys have done a great job and its great for them to have us up there this weekend.
"We were quite quick here last year but experienced some issues which upset that, so it is good to be on the pace here once again.
"I love street circuits, you can really muscle the car around, if you are lacking a bit in the car you can make up for it with a bit of stupidity which is always nice."