Lowndes takes championship lead Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has taken the 2006 V8 Supercar championship lead following his second placing in today's opening race at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway. Lowndes who started from third on...
Lowndes takes championship lead
Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has taken the 2006 V8 Supercar championship lead following his second placing in today's opening race at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway.
Lowndes who started from third on the grid following the top ten shootout managed to achieve his worst ever start in a V8 Supercar race and was passed by five other drivers after he cracked wheel spin and was unable to get sufficient power down.
Triple Eight Race Engineering was forced to change their strategy, electing to bring Lowndes in for a much earlier than anticipated compulsory pit stop.
The gamble paid off with the pit crew performing their quickest ever racing pit stop of 2.8 seconds and Lowndes rejoined the race behind eventual race winner Todd Kelly.
The race eventually became a procession with Lowndes having good mid-corner pace but lacking some of the torque of Kelly's car.
"You have now seen my worst ever start," Lowndes commented. "Thankfully today's result will overshadow my starting performance.
"The boys really saved me today putting in a blinder of a pit stop which shows positions are won not only on the track but also in pitlane.
"The car was brilliant and if I had just a little more grunt it would be absolutely perfect," Lowndes said.
Jamie Whincup starting from ninth position on the grid also slipped a few positions in the funnel of cars into Turn 2 but gained four places in another well executed pit stop from the Team Betta Electrical crew.
In what was his best display of passing Whincup climbed to fifth position overtaking former team mate Jason Richards on the very last lap of the race.
"That was the most fun I have had in a V8 Supercar race," Whincup said. "I had some great battles and managed to pass all my mates today.
"Our cars had clearly more grip than anyone else's towards the end of the race and even though the times were slower than at the start the reliability was never in doubt.
"It is a great start to the weekend and I am actually looking forward to tomorrows reverse grid race after getting a bit of passing practice in today," Whincup concluded.
Team Betta Electrical will contest a 53 lap reverse grid race tomorrow morning and a further 53 lap race in the afternoon, with the grid based on points accumulated in the first two races.