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May 16, 2014 - 07:47 AM
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Quiet Achiever Coulthard Continues Form In Perth
Posted by: newsla on May 16, 2014 - 07:44 AM
Sports Cars
Quiet Achiever Coulthard Continues Form In Perth


V8 Supercars' quiet achiever Fabian Coulthard plans to continue his climb up the ranks.

 

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Coulthard has publicly taken a back seat this season behind the emergence of Scott McLaughlin and the recent woes of Red Bull Racing Australia as he sits comfortably in third.

The Kiwi is aiming to stay that way at this weekend's Perth 400 as he claws away at the points lead of Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes. Coulthard was fastest in practice from Pepsi Max Crew FPRs Chaz Mostert and Jamie Whincup but incredibly circumspect of his chances.

Winterbottom and Lowndes have strong records in Perth. Lowndes this weekend can become the driver to register the most wins in Perth ahead of the retired Mark Skaife.

Coulthard has not won in Perth although his Brad Jones Racing outfit are the only ones to truly challenge Red Bull Racing and Pepsi Max Crew FPR in the past seven years in recent times through Jason Bright and his Team BOC Commodore.

Interestingly, the two after him on the ladder, James Courtney and Shane van Gisbergen have not won at the abrasive Perth circuit either - in fact, Van Gisbergen noted it was one of his worst tracks coming into the event.

"It's a good start - especially after New Zealand we struggled a bit there," the Holden Commodore driver said after topping the first day of the Perth 400.

"It's only practice, but to bounce back in that sort of fashion is positive. We need to do that in qualifying when it counts, but it's a very good start."

The Kiwi said that, as usual, it will be tough to qualify on the 2.42km circuit tomorrow.

"It always is a challenge - every time we come here, qualifying is hard work. You've got one lap, maybe two on the tyres, so it's going to be every man for himself."

A year on from his Championship debut and fresh from a podium in New Zealand, Mostert could also be a quiet achiever this weekend.

He plans to learn from Winterbottom on the soft tyre compound this weekend at a track notorious for being hard on rubber.

"It's hard when you start a series in the fourth or fifth round but what a place to start. It's probably one of the trickiest challenges because our tyres go off so quickly," Mostert said.

"Soft tyres events are always a good one. You wish every track you had the soft tyre because you get the most out of the car. We had a strong weekend in New Zealand so we hope all four cars are strong this weekend.

"Frosty (Winterbottom) is pretty good at it so hopefully we can all be up there."

Whincup maintained his confidence that the mighty Red Bull Racing team would fight back in the West after a challenging event in New Zealand.

"There have been a couple of tough weekends but we have got high expectations of ourselves. We have to step up this weekend," Whincup said.

"It's great that people are saying we are in a form slump because the expectation is so high. We are not enjoying it right now but I'm sure we will look back at it and say 'that was pretty cool, it made us lift'."

Volvo's McLaughlin was fast early before getting swamped in the final session to finish sixth with his team-mate Robert Dahlgren one ahead of him.

However, the popular young Kiwi believes it is difficult to understand where he is at comparatively, and says only qualifying tomorrow will tell.

"The car is alright - it's a little bit hard to know where you're at. At the end of the day, we're up the front so that's the main thing... probably until qualifying we don't know, but it's not too bad."

McLaughlin has had a string of ARMOR ALL Pole Positions over the past few rounds, but is yet to record a Championship race win. Could it happen this weekend?

"We're not far. To be battling for the wins at the moment is awesome, so it's a good start for Volvo."

The V8 Supercars will qualify at Barbagallo Raceway tomorrow morning at 10.15am local time, with two back-to back 10-minute sessions to determine the grid for the 100km twin races to follow.

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