Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Championship leaders TeamVodafone have made an unusual visit ahead of the Clipsal 500, with drivers Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes visiting the plaza next to St Francis Xavier's Cathedral to be officially blessed by a Catholic priest.

The duo, who will contest their first race on Australian soil behind the wheel of a Holden Commodore this weekend, were blessed by Father Dean Marin to have safe racing in the ‘City of Churches’, as well as the rest of the 2010 V8 Supercars season.

Reigning V8 Supercars Champion Jamie Whincup, who is also the defending Clipsal 500 winner, became the first ever three-time victor of the event last year. Whincup will be aiming to write himself into the record books and become the first driver to win four.

The series leader won all four of the season opening races in the Middle East and admitted there was an air of anticipation surrounding the TeamVodafone Commodores’ Australian race debut.

"I am looking forward to another big weekend at the Clipsal 500," Whincup said.

"It is going to be a totally different experience to previous years as we have four races under our belt and it will be the first time we race our new Holden Commodores on home soil.

"There is a lot of speculation about the how the cars will go on a traditional bumpy street circuit but I can't wait to work with my teammate, Craig Lowndes, to get the cars up to speed as soon as possible.

"It is good to come here to the City of Churches and have our new drive behind the wheel of a Holden blessed and highlight that road safety is important, both on and off the racetrack.”

Whincup's clean sweep in the Middle East sees him currently leading the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series with 600 points.

Team-mate Craig Lowndes has enjoyed one of his best ever starts to a season with podiums in both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

"The Clipsal 500 is one of the toughest events of the year although having already completed four races we will go there better prepared than we ever had,” Lowndes said.

"This has been one of my best starts to a season in the past couple of years and I am looking forward to keeping the momentum rolling on.

"Clipsal has always been the circuit we have pegged as really knowing what our true speed will be as it is the first track we will race on this year that we all know.
“It is completely different to the previous two circuits - it is a more traditional bumpy circuit with lots of kerbs and 78 laps each day makes it a gruelling event.”

The Clipsal 500 is the third event of the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series and features two 250km legs across Saturday and Sunday.

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Alison Michell

P: 08 8331 1444


Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, TeamVodafone, blessing



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