TeamVodafone qualify well ahead of AGP Top Ten Shootout
TeamVodafone’s Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have enjoyed a successful opening day at the Australian Grand Prix, both drivers recording top six qualifying times ahead of tomorrow’s inverted Top Ten Shootout.
Lowndes looked set for provisional pole but was pipped by Shane Van Gisbergen in the dying seconds of qualifying while teammate Whincup finished two tenths behind in sixth.
Changing conditions and a slippery track proved troublesome in the earlier practice sessions. Whincup spun spectacularly at Turn 13 before settling in and posting the fastest time in Practice 2.
The fastest man on the day, Shane Van Gisbergen, drew ball 8 in the end of session lottery draw and as a result the top eight qualifiers have been inverted to create a new shootout order.
A confident Lowndes acknowledged his team had a good package ahead of the shootout.
“The car is very good,” Lowndes explained. “We have great car speed and balance.
“The conditions today were quite tricky and we struggled a bit with setup through practice but it was almost perfect in qualifying.
“Hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder tomorrow,” he added
Lowndes will hit the track fourth in tomorrow’s Top Ten Shootout and Whincup will be the eighth car out.
“The car was good,” Whincup said. “It was better than the time we did but in saying that I don’t think I could have matched Shane (Van Gisbergen)
“The conditions were very slippery and it didn’t help that I was feeling awful today.
“Thankfully Shane drew ball 8 otherwise we could have been sitting outside the top ten,” Whincup concluded.
The V8 Supercars will qualify at 3.00pm ahead of the first leg of the Albert Park 400 which will get underway at 6.20pm.
For the first time this year, the V8 Supercar races will feature pit stops as teams are required to use both the hard and soft tyre at some stage in each race. Each driver will have three sets of the softer tyres to use across the three races, with two sets of new regular hard tyres.
The finishing order of Race 1 will determine the grid for Race 2 on Saturday, and the finishing positions from Race 2 will set the grid for the third and final race on Sunday.
The winner of the Albert Park 400 will be the driver with the highest number of points across the three races