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Preview: Darwin 2015

Jamie Whincup – Car #1

“I’m looking forward to Darwin. It’s been a good five weeks and I’ve enjoyed the break having gone to Europe and checked out Red Bull head office. The big change at Hidden Valley this weekend is the resurfacing of the circuit. We had a great run there last year, but the resurfacing means it’s a level playing field for everyone. We’ll try to prepare as well as we possibly can. We’ve just come off two of the worst rounds for us, so we’re obviously really looking forward to trying to turn things around this weekend and just trying to get a nice solid base and build some confidence back up for when we head into the back half of the year. There are new tyres rules this weekend and there’s been a lot of talk with the formats. To be honest I don’t think it had anything to do with the formats or the tyres, but in saying that it’s good that V8 Supercars have reacted to the public chat with the soft set of tyres on Saturday. Hopefully there will be difference between the teams, it’s not just all the same.”

Craig Lowndes – Car #888

“Darwin’s a track where we’ve had great success in the past, but being newly resurfaced, it’s obviously going to present a new challenge for all of us to get our heads around it. Having an extra set of soft tyres in practice is definitely going to help that, but I’m really excited. Hopefully it’s a circuit where we can try and break into that 100 league. It’s going to be tough though. The competition is incredibly tight at the moment, so that’s something that we’ve got to be mindful of, but it’s a circuit where we’ve done well in the past so I’m looking forward to getting up there. I love the weather, love the climate and the city itself is awesome, so fingers crossed we can do a fantastic job.”

 

If there was ever an event that should belong to Lowndesy, it’s this one. Not only will the five-time Bathurst champ be gunning for his 100th win, he’ll be doing it on the weekend of his 41st birthday (Sunday, get your cards and pressies ready) and it could potentially fall on the 888th race of the V8 Supercars Championship (Saturday race two). It’s written in the stars… hopefully!

Meanwhile, Jamie’s hoping the Top End could be the location of his return to form and, if last year’s anything to go by, it just might be.  This time in 2014 he was sitting sixth in the championship and 166 points off the leader. Darwin was the turning point though, where he won both Saturday races, having also claimed pole for the pair – Triple Eight’s first ever pole positions at Hidden Valley.

The talking points for the weekend include the resurfacing of the track and the introduction of a set of soft tyres to Saturday’s racing. Lap times are expected to be blitzed and about time, too – Jason Bright’s qualifying and race lap records still stand from 2002 (1:07.8546) and 1999 (1:09.0149) respectively.

 

Triple Crown Darwin – Hidden Valley Raceway

Circuit length: 2.9km

Circuit direction: Anti-clockwise

Average speed: 149km/h

Maximum speed: 271km/h

 

2014

JW CL
Qualifying Race 1 1st 3rd
Race 1 1st 2nd
Qualifying Race 2 1st 2nd
Race 2 1st 2nd
Qualifying Race 3 2nd 1st
Race 3 3rd 17th

 

Championship standings

1st – Mark Winterbottom, 937 points

2nd – Craig Lowndes, 925 points

3rd – Fabian Coulthard, 851 points

4th – Jamie Whincup, 801 points

5th – James Courtney, 795 points

 

1st – RBRA, 1726 points

2nd – Pepsi Max Crew, 1651points

3rd – HRT, 1544 points

4th – BJR, 1413 points

5th – Jack Daniel’s Racing, 1171 points