Whincup and Lowndes looking to extend street race streak in Townsville. V8 Supercar Drivers' and Team's Championship leaders, TeamVodafone will look to maintain its unbeaten street race streak as the 2009 series heads north to Townsville for the...
Whincup and Lowndes looking to extend street race streak in Townsville.
V8 Supercar Drivers' and Team's Championship leaders, TeamVodafone will look to maintain its unbeaten street race streak as the 2009 series heads north to Townsville for the first time ever. The Dunlop Townsville 400 features a circuit purpose-built for the event, with its course weaving through 2.87km of streets south of the CBD. The two 200km races have the potential to define the race for the 2009 title, with the driver and engineer combination that makes the best progress in practice set to reap the rewards. TeamVodafone has an exceptional results record on street races to date, Jamie Whincup has won the last seven the last seven V8SCS races held on street circuits in succession (2008 Gold Coast, 2009 Adelaide and Hamilton) while Craig Lowndes displayed similar dominance at the AGP support event. Both drivers enter the event buoyed by the results, but also determined to make the most of any track time to learn the circuit's intricacies.
"I'm very excited about heading to Townsville for a brand new event -- this one has been a long time coming and there are massive expectations," said Whincup.
"It's always special to win the first event, but it will be no easy task."
"The track looks extremely challenging and I think it will take more than two-and-a-half hours on Friday to find the limit."
"It will be a demanding race, physically and mentally. We race 200km both days which is only 50km short of Adelaide.
"I'm looking forward to going back to what we know in the control tyre for this event, it will help us to determine true performance and allow us to collect valuable data for future races," he added.
Whincup has led the 2009 championship since the opening event and enjoys an advantage of 144 points over second place after ten races. Teammate Lowndes is making back good ground after a slow start to his championship campaign, currently placed fourth. He said he hoped that the team's strength on street circuits would help him to further bridge the gap to the top three.
"It's always exciting going to a brand new circuit where no one has any previous data -- it really does come down to the smarter driver/engineer combination," said Lowndes. "From the driver's point of view, it is all about getting your head around the circuit as quick as possible, and for me that is the most exciting part."
"Townsville is another important weekend for me in terms of my own championship. We are approaching the half-way mark and I'm placed fourth, it would be good to come away with some more solid points."
"We revert to the normal tyres and strategy, so there will be fewer surprises from that point of view, but it will still be important to manage what's available," he continued.
Lowndes has shared the journey to Far North Queensland with his family and said it offered a great opportunity to see new sights and landscapes.
"I've had a different lead up to this event and have been enjoying some time with Nat and the kids, driving up to Townsville and stopping along the way.
"It's a way to see places and parts of Australia we don't usually see over the course of a season, and we're especially looking forward to a warm reception from the fans in Townsville," Lowndes concluded.
Lowndes is less than 50 points shy of third place in the championship and can make up solid ground with a maximum of 300 points up for grabs across the course of the Townsville weekend. Drivers will contest a 72-lap race on Saturday followed by a second 72-lap race on Sunday.