Caruso confident in qualifying speed

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Michael Caruso believes the Nissan Altimas can qualify up the front again today for the 200km feature race at the NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint.

Caruso qualified second yesterday and finished third behind Pepsi Max duo Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom in the first of two 60km races, at a circuit that has suited the Altima in the past.

Team boss and 2006 Championship winner Rick Kelly earned his first podium finish in a Nissan yesterday in the second race -and Caruso was confident they would again be at the pointy end of the field in today's 20-minute qualifying session.

"I think qualifying we've got speed - we've got enough speed that we can potentially be on the front row again," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"In terms of the race, maybe we're a little bit behind still - but ... anything can happen in these Winton races. We just have to put ourselves in the position where we're at the front of the field and we can make the most of it."

Caruso was the best performer of the four drivers in the Nissan stable last year finishing 10th in the Championship, and this weekend runs a stunning red livery. He earned a podium finish with co-driver Dean Fiore at the Gold Coast last year and with engine upgrades on the horizon for the team, results this early in the season are a plus.

"We'll just keep doing what we're doing, we know we've still got a bit to come and so if we're fighting up the front now, that only encourages us for when we get the new engine parts that we can do another job," he said.

He was adamant the Pepsi Max FG X Falcons of Mostert and Winterbottom would be the ones to beat today, after dominating the event so far.

"At this stage unless something drastic happens -which can happen in these races at Winton, we see it all the time someone in the sand trap... the Prodrive cars have the speed over the competition," he said.

"We saw that yesterday -they were one of the teams that elected to use two tyres in that [second] race that gave Rick a good advantage and he took it with both hands.

"So if they don't win today they're doing something pretty wrong because they've got the speed, they've got the tyres, and obviously they've got the right strategy.

"I think they'll qualify well because they've shown that in most sessions yesterday."

Caruso currently sits 14th in the Championship but has finished in the top 10 in the last three V8 Supercars races.

Qualifying begins at the NP Navara Winton SuperSprint at 11.55am today.

Television times:

Sunday - Race 12: 13.15, FOX SPORTS 506

Highlights: 16.00 TEN, 20.30 ONE.

Tickets: https://www.outix.com.au/sites/winton/

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