CALTEX DRIVERS CHASE THE SET-UP AT SYMMONS PLAINS Young guns James Courtney and Jamie Whincup led the way for the Caltex supported drivers during practice for the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge, round 11 of the V8 Supercar Championship, at Symmons...
CALTEX DRIVERS CHASE THE SET-UP AT SYMMONS PLAINS
Young guns James Courtney and Jamie Whincup led the way for the Caltex supported drivers during practice for the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge, round 11 of the V8 Supercar Championship, at Symmons Plains today.
Courtney was the ninth fastest driver during today's limited lap practice session around the 2.2km circuit, less than 0.6 seconds behind the fastest time of the day. Whincup was one spot further back in 10th.
Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes debuted a new Triple Eight Engineering built Falcon and held a position inside the top ten for the majority of the session before he dropped to 12th with a handful of minutes remaining.
Defending V8 Supercar Champion Russell Ingall, who won the corresponding round in 2004, struggled to find the right balance in the set-up of his Caltex Racing Falcon this afternoon and as a consequence could only manage the 15th fastest time.
Ingall is confident some suspension changes to his Caltex Racing Falcon overnight by his crew will help him move up the order and break into the top ten during qualifying tomorrow to remain in contention for back-to-back championships.
Mark Skaife was fastest in today's practice session with Jason Bright 0.0144 seconds behind followed by Garth Tander.
Qualifying will be contested tomorrow morning followed by the top ten shootout and the opening race of the round in the afternoon. There will be a further two 58-lap races contested on Sunday.
Russell Ingall -- Caltex Racing
"It seems that we have the same situation as we had at the Gold Coast where our practice pace is not right on the mark. But we know that if we can just get through qualifying, get into the shoot out and get reasonable track position we'll be good for the race.
"We have a very good race car which we proved at Bathurst and Indy but for whatever reason we just can't seem to get the one lap qualifying pace out of the tyres that others seem to be getting.
"We'll just have to drive the wheels off the Caltex car tomorrow and jag a good enough time to get us a reasonable spot on the grid. That's all we will need here with plenty of laps in the race to work our way to the front from there."
Craig Lowndes -- Team Betta Electrical
"I had a very positive 50 lap practice session," said Lowndes.
"The new car is responding well to all our changes."
"If we put all our sector times together we could have finished up in the top five on old rubber.
"Our approach to practice was slightly different to what we normally do, being a new car we spent a lot more time working on race setup.
"I am confident we will make some big gains on new rubber and get it right for both qualifying and the race."
James Courtney -- Jeld-Wen Motorsport
"It felt good for my first run here. We were working hard in a few areas and made good progress through the session.
"We didn't get the best run on new tyres. Most of the other guys did their time earlier than we did.
"There is also a lot of improvement left in me so we are in pretty good shape for tomorrow. We should be in the top ten.
"The circuit is pretty deceiving. Being small I thought that it would be easy to learn but it's incredibly technical. The first section is crazy and the hairpin is pretty tricky too. And then you get to the last corner which can lull you into a false sense of security so there is a lot to it for a short circuit."
Jamie Whincup -- Team Betta Electrical
"While many teams ran on newer tyres today we managed the session well on old rubber," said Whincup.
"Both Craig and I are quicker in different parts of the circuit so we can definitely learn more tonight before qualifying tomorrow.
"The track has improved from last year and I am looking forward to racing with some degree of run off."