Ipswich Supercars celebration put on ice
SUPERCARS journeyman Fabian Coulthard will spend his 35th birthday in Ipswich on Friday hoping for a weekend to celebrate.
However, he wasn't planning a party at least until after Sunday afternoon's 200km Race 16 at Queensland Raceway.
"I've got work to do,'' he said at this afternoon's Coates Hire Community BBQ before getting down to last minute fine-tuning at the Willowbank circuit tomorrow morning.
Running third in the Supercars championship 158 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin, Coulthard enjoyed the fan session at Churchill.
"We've done a fair bit this week,'' the Shell V-Power Racing Team racer said, well accustomed to meeting fans and promoting Supercars events.
"We've gone from one thing to the next and we'll get to do some driving tomorrow, which will be good.''
Having raced with a number of teams since his Supercars debut in 2004, the English-born, New Zealand-bred driver led this year's hotly-contested series before a disappointing round in Townsville.
"We're not too bothered about the championship at the moment,'' Coulthard said, reflecting on the halfway stage of the season.
"There's lots of water to pass under the bridge at the moment so we need to focus on what we are doing, concentrate on each and every event, and worry about the championship in November.
"Every time you win is pretty pleasing so we'll just try and do a bit more of that.''
Defending Supercars champion Shane Van Gisbergen also looked at ease as he joined Coulthard and six other Supercars drivers at the fans' session.
"It's awesome, a good way to start the weekend,'' the New Zealander said, being in fourth behind Coulthard.
With the highly regarded Red Bull Holden Racing team, Van Gisbergen won the Saturday 120km race last year at Queensland Raceway.
"It's a little different this year but it's a lot of fun being a part of it,'' he said.
"We've had some really good battles.''
Coulthard and Van Gisbergen were two of the top five drivers at the Coates Hire site.
The Supercars' most successful championship winner Jamie Whincup, currently second, and Queensland favourite Chaz Mostert (in fifth) were also among the top drivers mingling with fans.
Red Bull Holden Race Team driver Whincup needs one victory this weekend to move ahead of experienced Team Vortex pilot Craig Lowndes in overall victories. Both drivers are deadlocked on 105 wins heading to QR.
Whincup finished second in both Ipswich races last year with Lowndes winning the 200km journey on the Sunday.
Other drivers happy to meet their fans this afternoon were Nick Percat, Tim Slade, James Courtney and Will Davison. They signed everything from caps, shirts and posters to photos, merchandise and water bottles for delighted fans.
The Supercars drivers will also be available for autograph sessions this weekend at Queensland Raceway.
The times are: Saturday - 9.15am-9.45am and Sunday (9.30am-9.45am) at the rear of the team garages in the Supercars Paddock at the Raceway.