ATCC: Eastern Creek report

JAN 27 Eastern Creek, Sydney, Australia... Australian motorsport's next generation exploded in to the limelight as 22 year old Craig Lowndes took the overall victory in round one of the 1996 Shell Australian Touring Car Championships at Sydney's...

JAN 27 Eastern Creek, Sydney, Australia... Australian motorsport's next generation exploded in to the limelight as 22 year old Craig Lowndes took the overall victory in round one of the 1996 Shell Australian Touring Car Championships at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway.

Lowndes' two wins and a second saw him take the overall victory from Wayne Gardner's Commodore and defending champion John Bowe in the Falcon Bowe drew first blood in this years title battle with a win in the first of the new three heat format, but only after Australian folk legend Peter Brock spun at the tricky turn 2 while looking comfortable in front. Brock's new team mate Lowndes harassed Bowe throughout the heat to take second with Glen Seton in the Ford Credit Racing Falcon in third.

Heat 2 held in the difficult twilight period saw Lowndes dominate the race after out dragging Bowe to turn one. Brock and Skaife crashed after Brock received a touch from Seton leaving both cars badly damaged but thankfully both drivers uninjured.

Bowe spun while in second while Wayne Gardner copped a stop go penalty for a jumped start.

Gardner's team mate Neil Crompton survived a suicidal move from former F1 world champ Alan Jones to grab second while another of the new generation former Formula Ford Festival winner Russell Ingall took the second Perkins Team Castrol Commodore to third.

The final heat was held under lights and it was Lowndes again who left the line first and was never headed. Wayne Gardner recovered from his heat two disappointment to take a strong second with Seton in third. Bowe joined the ranks of those who lost it at turn 2 and failed to finish. While Brock and Skaife's cars were too badly damaged to be repaired in time for the third heat.

Overall it was a dream Shell Australian Touring Car Championships debut for Lowndes who took the win from the consistent Wayne Gardner in the Coca Cola/Wayne Gardner Racing Commodore Bowe's first heat win saw him finish third overall from arch rival Glen Seton.

The next round is next Sunday FEB 4 at Melbourne's Sandown International Raceway.

RESULTS

HEAT ONE DRIVER TEAM CAR John Bowe Shell/FAI/Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon Craig Lowndes Mobil/Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore Glen Seton Ford Credit Racing Ford Falcon Wayne Gardner Coca Cola/Wayne Gardner Racing Holden Commodore Peter Brock Mobil/Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore

HEAT TWO Craig Lowndes Mobil/Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore; Neil Crompton Coca Cola/Wayne Gardner Racing Holden Commodore Russell Ingall Team Castrol Holden Commodore John Bowe Shell/FAI/Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon Dick Johnson Shell/FAI/Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon

HEAT THREE Craig Lowndes Mobil/Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore Wayne Gardner Coca Cola/Wayne Gardner Racing Holden Commodore Glen Seton Ford Credit Racing Ford Falcon Dick Johnson Shell/FAI/Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon Alan Jones Pack Leader Racing Ford Falcon

OVERALL AND CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

Craig Lowndes  56
Wayne Gardner  36
John Bowe      32
Glen Seton     28
Dick Johnson   22

NEXT ROUND Sunday FEBUARY 4 Sandown Park, Melbourne, VIC Australia.

-- Brett Ramsey On line Media consultant

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Series General
Drivers Alan Jones , Neil Crompton , Wayne Gardner , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , John Bowe , Peter Brock , Dick Johnson
Teams Holden Racing Team