Winton: Cameron McLean preview

Mclean'S Winton outlook: Deja vu will do! IF this weekend's eighth round of the 2002 V8 Supercar series goes as well for V.I.P. Pet Foods driver Cameron McLean as last year's round did, then for once, second place will be good enough. McLean...

Mclean'S Winton outlook: Deja vu will do!

IF this weekend's eighth round of the 2002 V8 Supercar series goes as well for V.I.P. Pet Foods driver Cameron McLean as last year's round did, then for once, second place will be good enough.

McLean recorded his best qualifying performance in V8 Supercar racing - second in the main session and fifth in the Top 10 shootout - at the twisting northern Victoria circuit in 2001.

With improving form in a new Ford Falcon XR8 this season, he's hoping to do it again.

"We've done a fair bit of work on the V.I.P. car's suspension since the last round at Oran Park and the Paragon Motorsport team and I are pumped and ready for a great weekend," McLean said today.

"One-car teams like ours can be at a disadvantage in terms of set-up at the track, but our engineer Matthew Boniface has worked out a procedure for us to get the most out of the practice sessions.

"At Oran Park we were only a tenth of a second off the Top 10, so it's obvious all you need is a tiny gain to get you up to the front."

A good qualifying position like McLean had last year is particularly important at Winton, a 3.0 km circuit that offers little chance for overtaking.

Last year, second place off the grid in race one suddenly became a mid-field spot when the Falcon was hit by another competitor in turn one.

In race two, McLean enjoyed a brief run in the lead by staying out late for the compulsory pit stop - but then got caught by the appearance of the safety car.

"This weekend, my plan is to qualify well, pit early, avoid the safety car and go like hell!" McLean said.

"These are fairly short races of 100 kms, so there's no time to take it easy.

"Also, Winton being one of the hardest tracks in the country to pass on I'll be looking to make up places with some slick pit stops from the Paragon crew.

"We've been practising at our workshop in Brisbane and working out some refinements in technique and if we can do as well in the races we'll definitely be ahead of a lot of our competitors."

The Paragon Motorsport team is already looking beyond Winton to the endurance races.

Sydney's Peter Doulman has been appointed co-driver with McLean and the pair will test later this month for the V.I.P. Pet Foods Queensland 500, which will be run at Queensland Raceway on 13-15 September.

TEAM SPONSORS: In addition to V.I.P. Pet Foods, the Paragon Motorsport Ford Falcon V8 Supercar is sponsored by Cox Lawn Care Products, All Power Steering, Eibach Springs, Freightliner Trucks, PPG Paints, Revolution Racegear, Screen Offset Printing, Snap-on Tools, Spandex, Street Smart Designs and Wurth.

CAMERON'S 2001 STORY: Main Qualifying - McLean 2nd, 1:26.86. Top Ten - McLean 5th, 1:25.40 (Pole 24.33). Race 1 - McLean 17th (Seton 1st). Race 2 - McLean 14th (Murphy 1st). Lap record - Ambrose (2001) 1:23.48.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after Round 7): 182 points Cameron McLean (29th overall); 1693 Mark Skaife, 896 Jason Bright, 894 Greg Murphy, 809 Marcos Ambrose, 802 Todd Kelly.

TIMETABLE: Saturday - 10.15 Practice (20 min.), 12.05 Practice (20 min.), 2.00 Qualifying (top 50%, 25 min.), 2.30 Qualifying (second 50%, 25 min.), 3.35 Top 10 Qualifying (30 min.). Sunday - 11.30 Race 1 (32 laps / 96 km, compulsory pit stop for tyres), 3.00 Race 2 (32 laps / 96 km, compulsory pit stop for tyres). TV - Network Ten, Sunday 2.30 - 5.00.

-pm-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Mark Skaife , Todd Kelly , Cameron McLean , Peter Doulman