Craig Lowndes needed a big weekend if he had any hopes of staying with Jamie Whincup in the V8 Supercar title hunt, and he left little doubt of his intentions with two big wins at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
The Team Vodafone driver led all but six laps on the weekend, punctuating Satuday’s win with another on Sunday, taking the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 from the second row of the grid.
"It's been a wonderful weekend," said Lowndes. "We knew we were coming here with confidence but you never know.”
Will Davidson started on pole but his Ford Performance Racing teammate Mark Winterbottom took the point at the green flag to lead the opening laps while Lowndes went with him to drop Davidson to third.
"We knew FPR were going to bounce back from their performance of last year and they have been strong all year,”Lowndes said.”In hindsight we can now reflect on it and we are really happy."
Lowndes made his move for the lead in the third turn, and while he gave Winterbottom a brief chance to retake the point later in the lap, Lap 6 would prove to be as close as the Ford would get to the lead again.
As they did in the first race of the weekend Lowndes and Winterbottom showed the way for the rest of the race, but the Holden Commodore pilot was never headed in taking the win.
Both Lowndes and Winterbottom pitted on the same laps during their two stops but Lowndes held a steady gap throughout the race, and the FPR driver again had to settle for second place.
"Craig was in a league of his own this weekend," said Winterbottom. "He was untouchable, drover very well and didn't put a foot wrong. What do you do? You just do your best and survive but I just couldn't run him down, he was too good."
The race ran without a single caution period, giving the field no chance to erase its deficit to the leader as the race was a virtual repeat of the opener. As he did the day before, Jamie Whincup came home in third, joining Lowndes on the podium to help Team Vodafone celebrate its sixth consecutive win.
Pole-sitter Davison settled for fourth place while Lockwood Racing's Fabian Coulthard came home in fifth, ahead of Supercheap Auto Racing's Russell Ingall - the Enforcer's sixth-place result capping his best weekend of the 2012 campaign.
The stellar weekend kept Lowndes in the hunt, but he was not able to make up any positions in the championship, remaining fourth behind Whincup, Winterbottom and Davison. Lowndes gained 42 points on the series leader and is now just 80 points out of third.