The V8 Supercars championship’s first day back on track after a five-week break has ended with Red Bull Racing Australia confident that the pace they’ve been missing for the last few rounds will return to the No.1 and No.888 Holdens this weekend.
With the Hidden Valley track newly resurfaced, the lap times tumbled as the Darwin circuit heated up. Craig finished the day with two top-ten positions, sixth and ninth respectively across the two one-hour practice sessions, while Jamie had a great improvement across the day, coming from 15th to seventh.
“It was good to get out there,” said the reigning champ. “The track wasn’t as radically different from what it was last year with the new surface.”
“We started off quick, but lost our way a little bit during the session, but then we were able to come back on pretty strong at the end. We’re still not exactly happy with where we’re at. Seventh is a little bit below our standard, so we’ll keep chipping away at the car, but there’s just not enough rear grip. We need some more rear grip to plant the back of the car and really shoot off those corners so you can get down those long straights. That’s the area of focus for tomorrow.”
Lowndesy, who celebrates his 41st birthday on Sunday, is happy with the work the No.888 crew achieved today: “The first hour we focused on just doing some testing and getting the balance of the car right. The second part of it in Practice Two was really focused on getting speed out of the car to be honest.
“We’ve got to find probably about two or three tenths at the moment. The other cars in front of us are sort of about that gap away.
“All in all I’m happy with the car balance. I think the car is responding to everything we’re doing. We’ve made a number of changes, which have been fantastic. Every time we go out the car has definitely improved, but we’ve just got to find that little gap that we need to get up the front. At the moment we’re really happy with where we’re sitting, we’ll have a debrief overnight and come back tomorrow for qualifying, which is going to be a completely brand new day.”
Tune in tomorrow from 8:55am local time for another practice session, two lots of qualifying and two 60km races, which see an extra set of soft tyres thrown into the mix. Check out the TV schedule here.