LOWNDES FLIES FORD'S FLAG IN HIDDEN VALLEY'S OPENING V8 SUPERCAR RACE Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has finished third in today's opening V8 Supercar race at Darwin's Hidden Valley circuit behind Todd Kelly and Mark ...
LOWNDES FLIES FORD'S FLAG IN HIDDEN VALLEY'S OPENING V8 SUPERCAR RACE
Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has finished third in today's opening V8 Supercar race at Darwin's Hidden Valley circuit behind Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife.
Lowndes, who has proven to be the fastest Ford contender this weekend, qualified third behind the Holden's of Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly and started the opening seventeen lap race from the second row of the grid alongside fellow Ford driver Marcos Ambrose.
Lowndes got a clean start but was edged out by Ambrose who slipped into third as the field approached the notoriously tight turn one.
On lap eight patience and applied pressure paid off for Lowndes when Ambrose ran wide coming into turn six allowing Lowndes to sneak through and take third place.
Lowndes said his Triple Eight Race Engineering prepared Falcon showed tremendous speed throughout the race but they would look at improving tyre life for tomorrow's two, forty-eight lap races.
"I got an ok start today but Ambrose got passed me so I had to apply as much pressure as I could in the opening laps of the race," Lowndes said.
"Patience eventually paid off when he ran himself wide coming into turn six giving me the chance to sneak through and move into third.
"I plugged away and caught Mark but where our car was strong wasn't necessarily where I could attempt to pass," he said.
"Tyre wear is going to be very important in tomorrow's longer races so we will head back to the garage tonight and have a think about how we can improve our race consistency.
"It was a great result for the team we have had fast cars in past but now we are concentrating on building consistently fast cars," Lowndes added.
Steve Ellery's nightmare continued in the morning's qualifying session where despite clocking the second quickest time in the lower 50% the Team Betta Electrical driver ended up eighteenth after the top 50% qualified on a noticeably quicker track.
Ellery got bunched in on the start and while working his way through the field was collected by Paul Weel on lap ten of the race.
The Team Betta Electrical driver entered the pits with damage to the rear and all four tyres and after repairs re-entered the race a lap down on the rest of the field.
Both drivers involved in the incident were awarded drive through penalties and Ellery will now will start tomorrow's first of two races from twenty eighth on the grid.
Ellery said today's incident proved what an important role qualifying played.
What happened to me proves how important qualifying really is," Ellery said. "We qualified badly today, started mid pack and paid the price for it in the race.
"Tomorrow we need to reduce the damage and pick up some points thankfully we have longer race, pit stops and more opportunity to make gains.
Tomorrow's two 48-lap races will feature compulsory tyre stops race two starts at 11.50am and race three at 2.50pm.
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