Winton: Caltex Racing Friday report

LOWNDES LEADS THE CHARGE FOR CALTEX Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes led the charge for the Caltex supported drivers during practice at round four of the V8 Supercar Championship at Winton by setting the fastest time during today's practice ...

LOWNDES LEADS THE CHARGE FOR CALTEX

Caltex Ambassador Craig Lowndes led the charge for the Caltex supported drivers during practice at round four of the V8 Supercar Championship at Winton by setting the fastest time during today's practice session.

Lowndes' team-mate Jamie Whincup continued his good early season form to set the eighth fastest time aboard his Caltex-backed Betta Electrical Falcon, 0.82 seconds behind Lowndes.

Defending Series Champion and current championship leader, Russell Ingall endured a tough day behind the wheel of his Caltex Racing Falcon but still secured the 11th fastest time.

Ingall battled with set up issues for the majority of the session before leaping up the order with ten minutes remaining and narrowly miss a birth inside the top ten by 0.13 seconds.

In his first visit to the tight three-kilometre circuit James Courtney continued his learning curve aboard his Jeld-Wen Falcon -- lubricated by Caltex Havoline -- to set the 23rd fastest time.

Lowndes' time was a healthy 0.3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Jason Richards. Paul Dumbrell was third fastest.

Qualifying will be contested tomorrow morning with the opening 34-lap race in the afternoon. The round will be highlighted with a pair of 46-lap races will be contested on Sunday, the first of which will be in a reverse grid format.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY----. Russell Ingall -- Caltex Racing "It's definitely difficult coming back to Winton after a couple of years. We found ourselves a bit lost with set up to begin with," said Ingall.

"Winton is a unique circuit, like Phillip Island and Eastern Creek ,where you have a one-off set up that is not similar to other circuits.

"It's fortunate that we have these long practice sessions this year. It gives you some breathing space if you do take a while to get the car in tune with the track. We needed every minute of the session today.

"The Caltex Racing Falcon didn't roll out of the truck how we wanted it but by the end of the session we had a race car. Both cars should be on the numbers in qualifying tomorrow."

Craig Lowndes -- Team Betta Electrical "We were a little surprised by today's result as we really didn't know what to expect this weekend," said Lowndes.

"The car is going reasonably well, we had a very good test last week and worked on our car balance which has not quite been right this year.

"Luck did play into our hand a bit this afternoon, I was one of the few drivers who got two flying laps in before the red flag came out in the last few minutes of the session."

James Courtney -- Jeld-Wen Motorsport "We had the JELD-WEN and Caltex cars going in different directions with set up today and it was the Caltex Falcon that hit on it in the end," said Courtney.

"Towards the end of the session we made some small changes to improve the car but didn't get the most out of it with the red flag coming at the end of the session.

"I'm finding Winton quite a strange circuit to learn. It has a lot of stopping and starting, quite the opposite to the flowing European style circuits that I am used to and probably prefer.

"But I'm learning more with every lap and look forward to having a big go tomorrow."

Jamie Whincup -- Team Betta Electrical "We struggled to find the correct setup for today's conditions," said Whincup.

"Thankfully we were able to do a qualifying run on new tyres which will allow us to better understand the cars setup for tomorrows qualifying.

"I certainly noticed a difference driving a Triple Eight Ford around Winton compared to my previous experiences with other cars."

-cr-

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Paul Dumbrell , Phillip Island