Winners and Losers: Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint

Craig Lowndes at Queensland Raceway - Photo: Rhys Vandersyde
Craig Lowndes at Queensland Raceway – Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship landed in Ipswich for this round’s at the notorious “paperclip”, Queensland Raceway. The home test track for many of the teams, the seemingly simple track was hard to master for some while others prevailed. Triple Eight reached their edge while Prodrive found their feet, asserting their dominance as the two powerhouse teams.

Winners:

  1. Craig Lowndes and Ludo Lacroix could prove to be the best driver/engineer combination in years after the pair showed that they can outwit their competitors by trying radical strategies. After forcing others into compromised strategies in race one, their “lone wolf” tactics in race two gave them an edge over their Red Bull stablemates. While brake fade attributed to the drop in position in race one, a dominating performance in race two saw Lowndes assert himself as a title contender yet again.
  2. Jamie Whincup is demonstrating while race wins are important, consistency is king this season. Despite being unable to notch up his century of wins, two second-place finishes were enough to keep him happily ahead in the championship points standings. A win was nearly certain in race one when a hard-charging Van Gisbergen was able to get past him team-mate. Early woes for Whincup in race two ended up being nothing, coming home second with relative ease. His speed and abilty to make a bad day good are why he’s currently top in the points standings.
  3. Mark Winterbottom may not have had a win in Ipswich but the speed of the Prodrive Falcon is currently enough to keep him in the title chase. Even though he is behind in the points standings compared to last year, his form is more consistent. He is racing smarter, not getting caught up in battles that will not lead to fruition and not making costly mistakes. A few wins will help put pep in his step as he looks to step up at his home race in Sydney.

Losers:

  1. Craig Baird refused to blow his own trumpet in the lead-up to the race weekend after replacing the ousted Aaren Russell. The Erebus enduro driver may not have bent the car but he hardly stretched its legs after posting lacklustre results, even being pipped by the young Kurt Kostecki. Baird is a good operator, one of the best that has graced the Australian Carrera Cup series, but Erebus will need to find someone faster if they want to please their sponsors in the second half of the season.
  2. James Courtney may be further considering a move overseas to race as his season sets into something of a freefall. The HRT pilot failed to make the top ten in either race, first due to a lack of pace followed by a myriad of errors and blunders on Sunday. With Holden potentially pulling funding for the Walkinshaw outfit next year, the 2010 champion has to prove that he deserves to stay in the game or find an option elsewhere for 2017.
  3. Scott Pye has some of the worst/best luck in the motorsports world. For a man who has been in so many big crashes, he has been lucky to walk away relatively unscathed. There aren’t many times that you can lose your brakes into a turn then walk away after nearly writing off the car. The team did a great job of repairing car #17 (not even at Bathurst this time!) though Pye struggled for pace in race one and was caught up in the incidents of others in race two. After being kicked out of his seat for next year, the young driver must be wondering just who he has to pray to for some luck.

The series takes a month-long hiatus after the Malaysian round was scrapped from the championship, next returning to Sydney Motorsport Park. Last year, it was Prodrive that shone, also providing the scene of Chaz Mostert’s last race win. The round kicks off on the 26th of August, through to the 28th.

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