GREAT DAY FOR LOWNDES - ONE TO FORGET FOR INGALL Caltex Racing's Craig Lowndes broke a long-time "hoodoo" when he won round four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Winton Motor Raceway in North-East Victoria today. After starting...
GREAT DAY FOR LOWNDES - ONE TO FORGET FOR INGALL
Caltex Racing's Craig Lowndes broke a long-time "hoodoo" when he won round four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Winton Motor Raceway in North-East Victoria today.
After starting today's opening reverse grid race from 27th position, Lowndes drove a mature, disciplined race to finish ninth, which allowed him to start the final race from pole position.
He then did what was required to win the final race after a great dice with fellow Ford driver Jason Bright.
Lowndes victory has elevated him to third in the championship, only 30 points behind series leader Garth Tander.
Lowdnes' Caltex-backed Team Betta Electircal team mate Jamie Whincup also put in a positive performance with a second place in the reverse-grid race and a ninth in the final race, achieving an overall result of 11th for the round.
Whincup, who salvaged 190 points, retains 8th position in the championship.
Caltex Ford driver Russell Ingall dropped from the top of the points table to fifth after a weekend he would rather forget.
Ingall lost the series lead in yesterday's opening race when he finished 14th.
He regained the lead after finishing fifth in this morning's reverse grid race, but he lost all his momentum when he was punted into a sand trap on the opening lap of this afternoon's final race.
Ingall tried to get traction with both forward and reverse gears, but eventually he had to be towed from the sand and went a lap down as a result.
Ingall went on to eventually finish 25th and 14th outright for the weekend.
It was also a tough weekend for Ingall's Stone Brothers Racing team mate James Courtney.
The former F1 test driver qualified 18th yesterday and then finished 15th in his first appearance at the Victorian venue in his Caltex-lubricated Jeld-Wen Falcon.
He failed to finish today's opening reverse-grid race after being sandwiched in an early incident. He then had an engine problem in the final race and was forced into the garage for eight laps before eventually re-joining the field to finish 27th.
Lowdnes won the weekend from fellow Ford driver Jason Bright and Holden's Mark Skaife.
Tander leads the championship on 1042 points from Rick Kelly (1020), Lowndes (1012), Steve Richards (988) and Ingall (962).
The next round of the championship will be at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on June 30-July 2.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
CRAIG LOWDNES -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"For many years I have not been able to achieve a consistent result at this track," said Lowndes.
"It was very pleasing to finally put three good races together especially with the reverse grid lottery.
"I am still not a fan of reverse grids because I believe in some instances the damage is disproportionate to the actual racing and Winton is one of a handful of tracks where passing is particularly difficult.
"Today's results show just how important consistency is, we have now moved to third in the championship and almost within reach of the top spot.
"It is great to finally break the hoodoo."
JAMIE WHINCUP -- TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL
"The low point of the weekend was definitely our mechanical black flag, however we have a number of positives including good car speed, good tyre wear and the ability to mix it with the frontrunners," said Whincup.
"For me, the weekend was a good racing experience from which I will be able to move forward.
"We continued our goal of accumulating championship points and maintained eighth in the championship."
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"Race two today was quite satisfying, driving from 17th to fifth was a reasonable result. The Caltex Falcon was a handful to start with but we gave it a tune-up during the race and settled down to make some progress.
"The reverse grid races have actually been saving us. We have been able to drive through to the front regularly.
"We took a risk with set-up in race three that didn't pay off. Sometimes you have to take a chance but you accept the risks that come with that.
"We were in a vulnerable position in the middle of the pack and it's a given that at some stage you are going to get nailed. We have been lucky until now but today was just one of those things, no blame attached.
"To keep out of trouble, the best place to be is the front. We are not getting to the front regularly enough. We need to find out why and fix the problem. We have some homework to do before Darwin."
JAMES COURTNEY -- JELD-WEN RACING
"We were really unlucky today. The JELD-WEN Falcon was taken off twice, the incident in race two putting us out of the race," said Courtney.
"We also suffered an engine misfire in race three just after the compulsory pit stop.
"If we can take a positive from today it was that the JELD-WEN guys managed to get me back on track to complete 75 percent race distance and hang onto some points.
"Once we did get back out I had the eyes on and we had a pretty consistent run with some reasonable lap times. We'll take what we can and build on it for Darwin."