The V8 Supercars Championship will be back in action this weekend, with the field heading west of Brisbane to the tyre-eating Queensland Raceway.
|2014 V8 SUPERCARS COATES HIRE IPSWICH 400
|Date:||01-03 August 2014|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:10-10:30|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 13:15-13:35|
|Free Practice Session 3||Fri 15:10-15:30|
|Race 23 Qualifying||Sat 11:25-11:35|
|Race 24 Qualifying||Sat 11:45-11:55|
|Race 23 (33 laps)||Sat 14:25-15:15|
|Race 24 (33 laps)||Sat 16:30-17:20|
|Race 25 Qualifying||Sun 12:55-13:15|
|Race 25 (65 laps)||Sun 15:50-17:20|
* All session times are quoted in Australian Eastern Standard Time (UTC +10:00 hrs)
If we are to be honest, it probably isn’t the most loved track of the season, dubbed the ‘Paperclip’ because of its relatively simple six turn design and lack of elevation. Furthermore, the changing temperatures cause all manner of difficulties for the teams as the grip levels change throughout the day. Tyre wear – particular on the left-rears, which take a punishment here – is also a major concern.
It must be said: though it is fairly simple, there is usually relatively entertaining racing. Turns 1, 3, 4 and 6 (most of the turns!) provide pretty good overtaking opportunities and a great spectacle. The 3.12 km track averages about 162 km/hr speeds, with a top speed of about 255km/hr. Good spectator views are also a bonus.
The Form Guide
Queensland Raceway is a venue that has historically been dominated by Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander, who – respectively with eleven and five race wins apiece – have largely sewn up the podium over the fifteen years that the circuit has played host to the V8 Supercars Championship.
But last year saw the track break the cycle of dominance, with series youngsters Chaz Mostert and Scott McLaughlin claiming a win apiece for Dick Johnson Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport. Both victories were hugely popular in the paddock, as they crucially broke a run of six successive victories enjoyed by the Red Bull Racing Australia team.
Both youngsters head into this weekend’s trio of races on the back of strong performances last time out in Townsville. For Mostert, it’s been a whirlwind twelve months since his breakthrough win: he moved into the #2 seat at Ford Performance Racing and has given series leader Mark Winterbottom a serious run for his money. For McLaughlin, the record books have been rewritten with a series of scintillating performances in the new GRM Polestar Volvo.
Series leader Mark Winterbottom will be hoping that a successful in-season test at Winton has cured the poor qualifying form he suffered last time out on the streets of Townsville. The Ford frontrunner failed to qualify inside the top-ten at all three races, giving himself an enormous amount of work to do in trying to recover lost ground. His best performance came in the final race where he finished sixth, but he suffered a major hit to his championship lead while chief rival Jamie Whincup made major inroads and vaulted to second in the standings.
Incredibly, no Ford driver has won a single pole position in 2014. The last time a Falcon lined up P1 was Winterbottom’s pole at Phillip Island, which was 24 races ago. ‘Frosty’ cannot afford another repeat of his qualifying form this weekend, or he could find his championship ambitions dead in the water.
As usual, his main threat will come from Red Bull duo Whincup and Lowndes. Whincup is the man on a roll but he has Lowndes’ formidable record to contend with, so the honours could well be evenly split between the two, meaning they could pinch points off each other over the weekend’s three races.
A superb win and two second-placed finishes in Townsville have given HRT’s Garth Tander a massive boost of confidence. A five-time winner here, the former champion could also be in the battle for frontrunning honours.
Queensland Raceway is the home test track for seven of the field’s 25 cars – Red Bull Racing, Tekno Autosports, Dick Johnson Racing and Erebus Motorsport – and the local runners typically enjoy a significant advantage at this most unique circuit.
While not one of the ‘local’ runners, keep an eye out for series veteran Russel Ingall, who could prove to be a dark horse this weekend for the little Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team. ‘The Enforcer’ has three race wins and twenty top-five finishes in his 34 starts here to-date, and he will like his chances of becoming the tenth difference race-winner this season.
Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media
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