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Mar 14, 2014 - 06:28 AM
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Volvo and Nissan impress at Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix
Posted by: newsla on Mar 14, 2014 - 06:25 AM
Sports Cars
Volvo and Nissan impress at Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Nissan has proved the surprise packets of the MSS Security Challenge at the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix, with drivers predicting the two to continue to run at the front throughout the V8 Supercar season.


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Scott McLaughlin and Michael Caruso have shown great pace in the first two races of the Formula One weekend, with double race winner Shane Van Gisbergen surprised at how quickly the Volvo has come on and how much the Nissan has improved.

Van Gisbergen watched in the first race as McLaughlin pushed current Champion Jamie Whincup in race one to finish third and was then fifth in race two. Caruso was fourth in both races in his Nissan Altima. It surprised Van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes, who was second to the Kiwi in race two.

Van Gisbergen duelled with Whincup at the start of the first race before he pulled away, and then diced with Lowndes throughout the second.

"That first race I really struggled at the start and Jamie was all over me. But once the tyres came up we were on top of it," Van Gisbergen said.

"I got a fight in the second race which was great. You can push 100 per cent and find the flaws in your car so there are quite a few things I would like to change.

"Craig was quite fast and giving it to me the whole day."

The Kiwi and Lowndes have been surprised by Nissan and Volvo this year with the S60 strong under McLaughlin and Swede Robert Dahlgren while all four Altimas were regulars in the top ten.

"The Nissan and the Volvo are the fastest cars this weekend," Van Gisbergen said.

"I was really hoping to race Scotty or Michael in the second race just to see what their strengths are. I've never really followed one this season so it would have been good to race. They are very fast. They will surprise (this year)."

Lowndes agreed.

"It's been quite surprising how quick they are out of the blocks," he said of Volvo.

"But Garry Rogers is no dill. He will always put a good car together and it was great to see them on the front row at Clipsal. It was better to see them here this weekend; they are not a one-week wonder.

"The Volvos are quick here but I am surprised the Nissan's are very quick because last year they struggled for straight line speed. This year they are not so bad."

Three-time V8 Supercar Champion and six-time Bathurst Champion Lowndes also said Van Gisbergen should win a title if he eliminates errors.

"It's not a question of his ability, it's a matter of getting him in a good car in the right surroundings. As the years go on, and I saw it in Jamie, you mature and don't make as many mistakes."

Whincup was given a five-grid place penalty from race for pushing McLaughlin wide on the front straight which in a way was a shame as his first race battle with the young Kiwi brought back memories of their great clash in Adelaide.

The penalty moved Whincup from just in front of McLaughlin to three rows behind, splitting the two for the second of the four races this weekend. But it didn't deter from the action.

McLaughlin and Caruso had an epic battle to start the second race, while Van Gisbergen and Lowndes had their own stoush at the front.

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