LOWNDES SECOND IN 2005 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has finished second in the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship after a tumultuous final round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit today.

Starting from pole position Lowndes finished third in the opening 140km race when a vibration in his #888 Falcon forced the Triple Eight Race Engineering pit crew to change all four tyres during the compulsory pit stop.

In the final race of the day and the 2005 Championship, Lowndes starting from the second row of the grid required a minor miracle to reduce the 37 point deficit to series leader Russell Ingall.

Lowndes and Ambrose battled for the lead and round victory until Lowndes was given a drive through penalty after officials claimed a wheel nut had gone into the fast lane despite the official pit observer telling the team he did not see it happen.

The Team Betta Electrical driver re-entered the track in twenty-seventh position and mounted a charge to reclaim eight spots in order to retain second in the championship.

"This is still a fantastic result for all of us, Lowndes said. "The Triple Eight Race Engineering team has done an absolutely amazing job this year and really turned our season around.

"We through everything we had it today but congratulations must go to Russell Ingall and the entire Stone Brothers team.

"This is a tremendous result for Ford and for us personally it provides us with a good platform to start the 2006 season," Lowndes added.

Lowndes team mate Steve Ellery in his final race for the Brisbane based team capped his season off with another credible top ten finish.

Ellery finished sixth in race one and tenth in race two leaving him seventh overall for the round and thirteenth in the Championship.

"My aim was to finish the season on a high note and I am pleased to say we achieved that," Ellery said

"I supported Craig as much as I could today but Russell had too much pace for me to hold him out.

"I have really enjoyed my time with Triple Eight I am grateful for the experience which has taught me a lot," Ellery added.

Team Principal Roland Dane praised his team for their efforts.

"We are really happy to finish second in the championship," Dane said.

"Craig did a great job to get enough points to retain second but it is disappointing the applied infringement maybe cost us second in the team's championship.

"With five pole positions and four round wins I think we have demonstrated this year we are the fastest outfit which gives us great confidence for next year," Dane said.

-tbe-