The seventh round of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship season gets underway this weekend, with the teams heading to Queensland for the first time this year for the Sucrogen 400 on the streets of Townsville.
And with the last round at Darwin throwing up a few surprise results to close this year’s championship battle right up, we could well be in for another exciting instalment this weekend.
Richard’s F1 previews this weekend’s action and takes a look at some of the talking points leading into this weekend…
|2011 SUCROGEN TOWNSVILLE 400
|Date:||9-10 July 2011||Lap Length:||2.860km|
|Race Lap Record:||1:13.4470, Fabian Coulthard (Ford Falcon FG) – 2009|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:25-10:55|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 11:40-12:10|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 12:55-13:25|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 14:35-15:05|
|Race 1Qualifying||Sat 11:05-11:25|
|Race 1 Top-10 Shootout||Sat 12:15-12:45|
|Race 1 (72 laps, 200km)||Sat 15:30-17:30|
|Race 2 Qualifying||Sun 11:40-12:00|
|Race 2 (72 laps, 200km)||Sun 15:30-17:30|
Located just south of Townsville’s city centre, the temporary street circuit navigates its way through the picturesque Reid Park. The clockwise layout uses a mix of everyday thoroughfares and purpose-built stretches of tarmac.
In many ways, the track is quite reminiscent of Melbourne’s Albert Park Grand Prix circuit, with Turns 2 and 11 representing the best overtaking opportunities on the 2.86km layout.
A look back at 2010
Last year’s Sucrogen Townsville 400 provided success for both Holden and Ford with a win apiece, but in truth the race weekend was really Team Vodafone driver Jamie Whincup’s to lose.
The Holden driver took pole position on both days and won the first race on Saturday. He was on course to win the second race until a brake line failure set in. This allowed Mark Winterbottom to nip through and take his (and Ford Performance Racing’s) first win of the season to kickstart a late tilt at the championship for ‘Frosty’.
The Form Guide
Indeed, ‘Frosty’ will be aiming to create a little bit of history on Saturday morning if he can claim pole position for the first of two 72-lap races. The FPR driver is aiming for his fourth successive pole position, and if he can achieve the feat he will become the first to do so since Mark Skaife’s run of four consecutive pole positions in 1998.
Statistically, the most successful driver – ironically, without a win on the circuit – is TOLL HRT’s Garth Tander, who has never finished off the podium in the four races held here since the event debuted on the V8 Supercars calendar in 2009. He has also never qualified outside the top-three here as well, and he’ll certainly be hoping that this round will help him relaunch his championship challenge after a difficult season so far.
Unusually for a street circuit, overtaking is a regular feature here, with Whincup’s Race 1 last year being the only time that the race-winner has started on the front row. The year before, the Whincup won from ninth on the grid, while Courtney won the following race from fourth place.
Make sure you stay tuned to the Richard’s F1 website this weekend for the latest news and results in this championship series!
[Image via Team Vodafone]