Russell Ingall - giant killer?

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Could Russell Ingall and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport perform one of the great giant killing acts in V8 Supercars history and win a race at the August 1-3 Coates Hire Ipswich 400?

While Ingall isn't speaking that ambitiously, he does admit he and the Championship's smallest team see Queensland Raceway as one of their best opportunities in 2014 to claim podium glory.

Ingall's traditional good form at Queensland Raceway, the Repair Management Australia Holden Commodore VF's strong pace on soft tyres, the team's willingness to roll the dice on strategy and a rewarding test last week at Winton have all helped raise expectation within the single car squad.

"We are pushing hard, we are pushing really hard for this one," Ingall told v8supercars.com.au. "That is one of the reasons we went for the test day because we want to have a big swing at it.

"This could be the best chance to get a podium to be honest."

The Coates Hire Ipswich 400 is a SuperSprint event, which means two 100km races on Saturday and a single 200km mini-marathon on Sunday. All qualifying and racing will be conducted on the Dunlop soft tyre.

Ingall and engineer Brendan Hogan have made a speciality of off-beat strategies at the SuperSprints this year.

At Winton after a pit stop in the first Saturday race for fresh tyres they were headed for the podium until a clash with DJR's David Wall was punished with a drive-through.

Later, Ingall copped a $15,000 fine ($10,000 suspended) for post-race comments about the penalty.

In Darwin, where the tyre allocation was parsimonious, they sacrificed a sprint race to preserve a set of tyres for Sunday. Ingall looked set for a top five result until a mechanical issue intervened.

"The championship position doesn't really matter to us, it's all about getting the big results and the big result is getting on the podium," said Ingall, who sits 18th on the points table.

"That's definitely where we are at and that's the good thing about being in our position. We can gamble. And if you fall over you shrug and go 'that's life' and if it pays off you look like a hero.

"So that's in both aspects, in both strategy and wheel-to-wheel driving."

In fact a feisty Ingall, in his best 'Enforcer' tone, has warned any rival drivers harbouring championship ambitions that see him coming in their mirrors at QR to think carefully before taking him on.

"It surprised me in Darwin, when I was coming through the field on better tyres, how hard some guys in championship contention raced. I expect them to race hard but they were sticking their nose in and not giving up positions very easy against someone who has nothing to lose.

"It has actually surprised me how much risk these guys are taking but that's good for me," the 2005 V8 Supercars Champion added. "I really want to be amongst them because I don't give a damn who it is, what it is and who they represent. It's gong to be on."

Ingall said he expected to consistently qualify the RMA Commodore in the top 10 at QR - and it's easy to see why, considering his efforts on soft tyres so far this year include three third place grid positions and the team's best ever race finish, a fourth (in Tasmania).

"Qualifying performances on the soft tyre have always been good," he explained. "We have always been in the top 10 and that's where you have to be. You need to be at the pointy end to get on the podium."

At the 3.12km 'paperclip' Ingall has a strong record, with two wins in 1999 driving a Castrol Commodore for the legendary Larry Perkins. In 2003 he won in a Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon. He last finished on the podium in 2009 in third in a Paul Morris Motorsport Commodore, while he claimed a fifth in 2012 in a Walkinshaw Racing Holden.

"It's not the most technical place in the world and while there are only six corners you have to make them count, I think that's what people forget," he said. "And there is definitely a bit of a trick to getting round there."

The RMA Commodore goes to QR with uprated engine and suspension components validated at the Winton test.

Tickets are still available for this weekend's event.

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