CALTEX DRIVERS SEEK FURTHER SUCCESS ON THE APPLE ISLE As the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series heads to a dramatic climax, the quartet of Caltex-backed drivers are seeking further success in the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains...
CALTEX DRIVERS SEEK FURTHER SUCCESS ON THE APPLE ISLE
As the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series heads to a dramatic climax, the quartet of Caltex-backed drivers are seeking further success in the Falken Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains this weekend.
With this weekend's round being the penultimate in the 2007 series, it could prove vital in the outcome of the overall championship standings.
Both Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall have tasted success at the Symmons Plains venue previously. Lowndes has won twice (1996 & 1998) while Ingall claimed the round during the championship's return to Tasmania in 2004.
Lowndes enters this weekend's 13th round second in the championship standings having won three rounds throughout the year in his #888 Caltex-backed TeamVodafone Falcon.
Ingall, who is enjoying some good late season form in his Caltex Racing Falcon, believes that qualifying will prove vital to the outcome of this weekend's round. Aided with the knowledge that he has qualified inside the top ten at each of the past four rounds, including a season's best third in Bahrain, the formers series champion is full of confidence as he heads to Tasmania.
Caltex-backed TeamVodafone driver Jamie Whincup entered the previous round in Bahrain leading the points standings but an array of incidents left him heading back to Australia without adding to his points tally and dropping to third spot in the championship.
James Courtney secured his second podium finish in three rounds by finishing runner-up in the Desert 400 at the Bahrain International Circuit and enters this weekend full of confidence. The ex-Formula 1 test driver showed good speed in his first visit to Symmons Plains last year and will be looking to transfer this speed into an outright result this weekend.
Practice for round 13 of the V8 Supercar Championship will be held on Friday afternoon followed by qualifying and race one on Saturday. A pair of 50-lap races will be held on Sunday to complete the round.
With two rounds remaining, Garth Tander is the championship leader, 20 points clear of Lowndes who is followed by Whincup and Rick Kelly.
Russell Ingall -- Driver of the #9 Caltex Racing Falcon "Symmons Plains is one of the more simple tracks that we go to," said Ingall.
"It's got one of the heaviest braking corners and the sharpest first gear turn followed by one of the longest straights. Predominately it is these three things that make or break a fast lap time.
"It's essential that you work around that.
"Qualifying is very important in Tasmania; the lead in to that first hairpin has claimed plenty of cars over the years.
"You really want to be at the pointy end on that first lap to give yourself a better chance of making it through."
Craig Lowndes - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Without a doubt this is a critical round for us," said Lowndes.
"This is a circuit where you need good power down and braking to cement a result.
"We have shown this year that we have the pace now we just need a little bit of luck to go our way."
Jamie Whincup - #888 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon "Last year Symmons Plains was one of three circuits (Indy, Sandown) where we struggled for pace, this year we have been strong at two of the three so I am confident we will have a better run than last year," said Whincup.
"The championship is a long way from gone and everybody is starting to make mistakes. None of the championship contenders have had the perfect report card over the past couple of rounds."
James Courtney - #4 Jeld-Wen Motorsport Ford Falcon "We were actually pretty fast at Symmons Plains last year but our results didn't show our speed," said Courtney.
"With SBR achieving podium finishes at each of the last three rounds, we could be on for a good result this weekend.
"The goal for the end of the year is to get onto that top step. We are not in the title hunt so race victories are what we are after.
"The Jeld-Wen Falcon is really making progress at the moment; it's getting better and better each round and with some small tweaks here and there, there are more improvements to come."