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TESTING TIMES AT THE GRAND PRIX

CRAIG LOWNDES put four days of racing to good use at the Australian Grand Prix meeting in Melbourne on the weekend.
 
Using the valuable track time at this non-championship round to experiment with chassis setups and learn more about the new-for-2017 supersoft tyre, Craig tried a variety of combinations as he sought more competitive speed from the TeamVortex Commodore.
 
“I'm really excited about what we've learnt (from the weekend), but obviously it would have been nice to be closer to the front. With Tasmania in two weeks, we can put all we've learnt into practice," Craig Lowndes said.
 

THURSDAY
  • One practice only, Craig uses old tyres only, 26th
  • Race 1 qualifying – 19th
  • Race 2 qualifying – 14th
  • Race 3 qualifying – 13th
  • Race 4 qualifying – 26th (after penalty)
“It was a bit of a crazy day. For practice we only had soft tyres to play with so it was a little bit of a non-event. We got an idea of what we thought the car would want, but of course going into qualifying was always going to be a different ball game with fresh, new supersoft tyres. First run, we just didn't have a balance in the car. Second run was much better, third run was really good and the last run was great, but it looks like we got penalised for something. It might have been crossing a line at turn 12, so we'll take it for what it is and we'll work on a race car now. I think we found some in-roads on the supersoft tyre, we just need to get a better balance early on."

FRIDAY
  • Craig finishes 15th in Race 1
  • Craig finishes 9th in Race 2
“We had a much better run in the second race. We started in a better position, but we just had a much better car to play with. It looked after its rear tyres very well, we made some adjustments and it responded, so we're really happy with that. There are still a couple of areas that we need to work on, but what we learnt today was really valuable. I'm delighted that we're making progress and everything we're doing makes sense. We had good car speed in the second race. Qualifying in the middle of the pack, we were always going to struggle with traffic, but when we got clean air the car was good, so fingers crossed for tomorrow."

SATURDAY 
  • Craig finishes 13th in Race 3
“There was a bit of carnage through the first couple of laps with the rolling start, but we managed to stay out of trouble. We made some adjustments to the car overnight but, unfortunately, we probably went the wrong way and lost rear tyre life very quickly during the race. I tried to make adjustments inside the car, but it didn't make enough of a difference, so we struggled towards the end of the race. It's all good to know and things that we can learn from for tomorrow and onward. We're learning a lot, which is what we're here for."

SUNDAY
  • Craig finishes 14th in Race 4
  • Overall, 13th for the weekend
 “It was a much better day today. What we've learnt over the last three races we put into practice today. We set the car up to what we thought might suit these conditions and I have to say it was very much a positive forward step. The car had much more speed. We had a bit of a road block in Rick Kelly - we caught him, we just couldn't find a way past. All in all, it's a really positive end to the week.”

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