Top five in the championship was Lockwood Racing's aim this year and Fabian Coulthard looked to have it done and dusted until the final lap at Sydney Olympic Park today.

Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Earlier in the day the task had seemed impossible with his only rival, Shane Van Gisbergen, qualifying on pole compared to Coulthard's 15th. A win for Van Gisbergen would mean Coulthard could finish no lower than 12th to retain his fifth place, which is exactly how the race transpired as the pair started the final lap.

Disaster struck, however, when the gear linkage - a rose joint that connects the gear stick to the gearbox - broke with just a few corners to go. It left Coulthard stuck in second gear and he limped home to finish 15th and sixth in the championship.

The result was particularly frustrating after Van Gisbergen ended Coulthard's race yesterday and was handed only a 20-point penalty as punishment.

V8 Supercars will be back on track for the official test at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday February 15th.

Fabian Coulthard - Lockwood Racing: "I only had second gear on the last lap. Up until then I was on target for my goal, a top five in the championship, but unfortunately we ended up where we did.

"We just struggled for locking margins in qualifying. In the race it was better but a whole heap of things had us on the back foot: being turned around at the start, being stuck in the pack, safety cars that didn't go our way and a strategy that wasn't the best.

"Just because I had a poor result here doesn't mean my expectations for next year haven't lifted. I'm looking forward to the season getting under way again. We'll work hard in the off season."

Lockwood Racing