Coastal power -- Bathurst revs up Coast drivers
By BOB ANTHONY
FORD will be counting on its Gold Coast connections to continue a winning streak at next week's Indy 300 V8 Supercar Challenge in Surfers Paradise.
After dominating the podium at Bathurst on Sunday, the top three teams, first-placed Craig Lowndes and his Gold Coast co-driver Jamie Whincup, second-placed James Courtney and David Bernard, both from the Gold Coast, and third-placed Steve Johnson and Will Davison, also from the Coast, will be carrying plenty of momentum into the race at Surfers.
Lowndes will be up against his co-driver Whincup, who is now leading the championship series, and there will be no team niceties shown on the tight and demanding Surfers street circuit.
Whincup, delighted with his Bathurst result, was looking ahead to the overall championship.
"Winning Bathurst alone is a huge achievement, but to win it and take the championship lead in the one day is really something else," Whincup said.
"There won't be much time to celebrate the race victory with us lining up for Indy. There are still three/four rounds left in the championship and I'll be doing my best to hold the lead at the end of the year." For Holden fans on the Tweed and Gold Coast, hopes of stopping the Ford juggernaut will rest with last year's three race winners, brothers Todd and Rick Kelly along withGarth Tander.
With four rounds left, Whincup (461 points) leads Lowndes (445), followed by the Holden pair of Rick Kelly (443) and Tander (434).
Local Holden hope Paul Morris will be out to post a better result than his showing at Bathurst, where he hit the wall on lap 145 in the closing stages of the race.
While last year's three races at Indy failed to produce a Ford win, this year Lowndes and Whincup have led the charge, posting wins in the last two V8 Supercar rounds at Sandown and Bathurst.
But the Kelly brothers, Mark Skaife and Tander have in the past shown their prowess on the concrete canyons of Surfers, where there is very little margin for error.
The V8s fire up next Friday, October 19, with practice sessions at 8.55am and noon followed by a qualifying period from 4pm.
On Saturday, the first of three 27-lap races will be held at 4pm, with the remaining two races on Sunday at 11am and 4.10pm after the Lexmark Indy 300.