Mean double act
Russell Ingall is chasing a rare V8 record, writes PAUL GOVER
RUSSELL Ingall is shooting for a unique double in this year’s V8 Supercars championship. He wants to be the first driver to win touring-car titles in a Holden and a Ford.
The Enforcer might be entering his twilight years as a tin-top thrasher, but he still believes he can claim a red crown to go with the blue one he won in a Falcon with Stone Brothers Racing.
‘‘I’m not dead yet. There is plenty of fight left in me,’’ Ingall says.
‘‘I’ve never been one for records but no one has done it in a Ford and a Holden. It plays on my mind. That would be a nice one to stick on a plaque on the wall.’’
Ingall is entering his second year with Paul Morris in the SuperCheap team and, based on his speed and results at the end of last year, believes he will be a title contender.
He also has a new car that has been designed and built to give him everything he needs for 2009.
‘‘It’s looking like it could be a pretty good thing,’’ Ingall says.
‘‘You can only gauge things by how you finish. Looking at the last round last year, I was on the front row alongside HRT and looking good for a round win. In the last few rounds if I wasn’t the leading Holden I was close to it.’’
Ingall had his first hit-out in his new car this week — it is nicknamed Kulwicki, after a Nascar racer who celebrated his wins with a backwards victory lap — and believes it is as good or better than anything on the grid.
‘‘It’s a beautiful car. I’ve driven a lot of cars, and it’s possibly the best V8 Supercar I’ve seen built,’’ Ingall says.
‘‘This thing is just mint. Looking good doesn’t mean it will go fast, but I know it’s engineered right. It could do the trick.’’
Even so, he knows he has to match the pace of the new FG Falcon and particularly the cars crewed by Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes at Team Vodafone.
‘‘The only team we had to catch last year, and that was everyone else as well, was Triple Eight.
‘‘A lot of other Holden teams are rolling out with what they finished in last year, but we knew we needed to go to the next step. So the next step was to build the car we wanted.
‘‘This is the chassis they wanted to build. It has eight months of design work and development.’’
The query over Ingall’s teammate has been answered. Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve asked for too much and youngster Tim Slade is now confirmed in the second SuperCheap Commodore.
And what about the big question: when will Ingall retire?
He’s in the gun after Mark Skaife called time at the end of last year, but says he has no plans.
‘‘I am definitely not retiring. I’m around for a couple more yet. Definitely this year and next. We’ll see after that.’’
Full throttle: Russell Ingall and SuperCheap teammate Tim Slade.
Picture: MARK HORSBURGH