Russell faces the race of his life
LISMORE’S V8 rookie David Russell faces the two biggest races of his short career at the weekend with the spoils of victory in the Fujitsu Supercar series promising to go down to the last chequered flag.
Russell and Gold Coast driver Richard Webb are locked in a tense ‘no love lost’ battle for the Supercar feeder category series crown, with just 79 points separating them going into the final races of the seven round series at the inaugural Sydney 400 at Homebush.
With 300 points up for the taking on Saturday and Sunday, Russell’s Howard Racing Ford Falcon team is refusing to take a backward step in a bid to reclaim the series lead they gave away at the Queensland Raceway in Ipswich in August when Russell had to be content with second place behind a completely dominant performance by Webb.
It set the stage for an enthralling close to the series, but another third place by Russell at Mount Panorama in Bathurst didn’t help the cause and it’s come down to a battle of wits and performance at Homebush.
“We’re going into it giving ourselves every chance of winning,” Russell said yesterday just 48 hours before leaving for Sydney.
“I’ll be spending the whole time looking ahead and letting things just unfold behind me.
“We’ll be going into the race with the pressure on him (Webb). It’s his race to lose and mine to win,” a confident Russell said.
The 27-year-old driver from Caniaba is also confident his first win in the Fujitsu Series would pave the way into the main V8 Supercar Series next year.
“We’re certainly looking at that as the ultimate prize. Plans are on the drawing board to help it happen, but I’m not in a position to disclose those at this moment.
“It’s not automatic, and if it (the Fujitsu title) doesn’t come off we certainly have multiple options,” Russell said.
However, the champion in waiting who started his driving career inspeedway production car racing has ruled out any of those optionsincluding international commitments.
“There will be overseas opportunities arise, but my career is centred on Australia,” he said.
Russellhad an exceptional start to the Fujitsu Series this year, winning thefirst Clipsal 500 round in Adelaide in March and filling second placeat Winton before a flat tyre cost him dearly in Townsville. He wasrunning second when forced to hit the North Queensland pits and was12th on returning to the track.
He has been more than consistentsince with a first place at Sandown, his second to Webb in Ipswich andthen the third in Bathurst.
Webb’s win to reclaim the lead fromRussell in Ipswich was only his second for the season, but he’s made itclear he too is not about to ‘throw away’ his advantage.
Russellheads to Sydney on Thursday to start practice sessions on Friday beforetaking on the first 20-lap qualifying race on Saturday.
“The goal is to go all out to win pole position for Sunday, and take that one too.”