In pitlane: With Riana Crehan

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 03/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Townsville shines bright on the V8 Supercars calendar -the sun shines, the town shines, and with 100km of extra green E85 high octane action, the next few days really can't come quick enough.

I feel like a kid at Christmas time and together with my former big screen co-host Minty, we have been texting each other every morning as a wake up ritual much like eating a chocolate from an advent calendar.

He has been sending me a "Morning, 'x' amount of days to go," accompanied with a photo of a blue sky and a progress shot of the simply sensational Reid Park Precinct. Fair to say we both can't wait until tomorrow!

Having been in this game for over seven years now, a common question I get asked is, 'what is your favourite event you get to attend?'.

It really is hard to choose because we go to so many fabulous places that all have their unique and special talents - but I really do have a soft spot for Townsville.

Partly because, after Darwin I have spent the past week or so in Melbourne's 12 degrees, and if you jump on Minty's Instagram you will have a fair idea of the weather in Townsville -25 degrees and not a cloud in sight.

But there are so many other reasons.

The town is so receptive to our sport. You walk down Palmer Street or any street in town and every restaurant, bar and retail space is displaying flags, selling merchandise and wants to talk about the weekend's racing.

You can go for a run along The Strand and people are wearing team colours and talking about their plans for the weekend.

This really is exciting for us - it's just great to have such a huge appreciation of our sport and drivers!

And then there is the racing.

We have been fortunate to have seen some seriously great racing since our first outing in 2009.

A street circuit just south of the CDB that winds through the beautiful Reid Park precinct with plenty of concrete, a tricky combination of fast and slow corners, declining track grip, increasing bumps at turns 10 and 11, and a top speed of 260km mixed with Townsville's heat, provides grueling conditions for the drivers, which get even trickier this year with a new format that sees even more time on track -three races instead of two, totaling 500km.

This track is difficult to get a good balance in the car, as you need to compromise between traction for the slow corners and good change of direction and an ability to ride the kerbs through the flowing chicanes.

Last year it was the battle of the factories, with FPR 1-2 and HRT 1-2 taking out the Saturday and Sunday races respectively.

It was a poor weekend for RBRA, who were further distracted by internal upheaval with the massive news breaking in the following days that team manager Adrian Burgess would move into his current role at HRT, and departed the team immediately.

It was also a combination of tyres last year, with V8 Supercars running both the hard and soft Dunlop compounds, but this year we are purely running the hard compound all weekend, which I think will suit RBRA and take away the huge degradation advantage FPR have had so far in 2014 on softs.

Last weekend, Jamie Whincup broke his 2014 drought -10 races without a win - butMark Winterbottom continues to do the damage, earning his money on Sunday when it counts.

One hundred and 61 points separates the lurking Craig Lowndes, who remains a constant threat but needs to bank some serious cash this weekend or things could become ugly for him.

And with Roland
labeling Chaz Mostert "not the sharpest tool in the shed" last week and stating he better look out on the track - I can't wait to stand in pitlane lane and watch it all play out. Once again V8 Supercars is the winner I say!

Riana's Wrap Up

-Fabian Coulthard needs to bounce back from a horror race 19 after poor strategy.

-Garth Tander has to find the podium and should here after two previous wins.

-David Reynolds should be winning races.

-Shane van Gisbergen has good street track cred at Clipsal and Homebush.

-Will Davison loves a street track if you look at his wins Clipsal, Hamilton, Surfers, Homebush, Townsville but the E63 is still lacking with overall pace.

-I expect Whincup, Lowndes and Winterbottom to take the bacon on the weekend. No surprises here!

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