CONSISTENCY REWARDS LOWNDES WITH A TOP THREE RESULT A consistent drive by Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has paid dividends with the multi-time champion finishing third in the opening 50-lap V8 Supercar race at West Australia's...
CONSISTENCY REWARDS LOWNDES WITH A TOP THREE RESULT
A consistent drive by Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has paid dividends with the multi-time champion finishing third in the opening 50-lap V8 Supercar race at West Australia's Barbagallo Raceway today.
After qualifying sixth Lowndes gained a position in the all important, top ten shootout and started the first of three sprint races from fifth on the grid. Team mate Jamie Whincup's bad run continued with the Clipsal 500 winner qualifying back in 21st position after struggling with understeer throughout the morning's qualifying session.
Lowndes got a clean start and maintained fifth position for the opening laps before Steven Richards with better cold tyre speed overtook the Team Betta Electrical Falcon on lap six of the race.
A great pitstop and good team strategy enabled Lowndes to gain two positions following his pitstop and after a clean passing manoeuvre on Mark Winterbottom positioned him in third place for the last half of the race.
"While we didn't have cold tyre grip early in the race our car speed was consistent for the entire race," Lowndes said.
"We had a great pitstop and good strategy and managed to get on the back of Skaife and Richards and stay there but we were not able to make a serious passing attempt.
"Hopefully we can get through turn one unscathed tomorrow and with a bit of luck going our way, we'll come away with a top three result," Lowndes added.
An off track excursion on the opening lap saw Jamie Whincup slip to the rear of the pack and forced to fight his way back from dead last. The Triple Eight Race Engineering crew brought him in for an early pitstop with the hope of gaining some track positions but the bad luck continued for the 23-year-old when he stalled his Team Betta Electrical Falcon while attempting to exit the pits.
Whincup rejoined the race in 28th position and consistently lapped for the remainder of the race gaining seven positions.
"Qualifying was disappointing and being that far back in the field for the start of the race I exposed myself to the danger zone," explained Whincup.
"The team bought me in for an early pitstop but I stalled the car and that cost an additional 10seconds and valuable track positions.
"From there I raced a pretty lonely race but the car remained consistent and I was able to make up some ground.
"In the reverse grid tomorrow I am starting from tenth and it will be a case of getting through turn one safely before focusing on chasing the leaders," Whincup added.
In a light hearted moment after the race, Car 88 Engineer Ludo Lacroix reminded Whincup his car wasn't a four wheel drive and slick tyres do not go well on sand.
Tomorrow's V8 Supercar action features an opening reverse grid race (140kms), where starting positions are determined by reversing the finishing order from the opening race; half points only are on offer for the placings. The grid for race 3 will be determined by combining both results, and full points are awarded to the winner of this 140km final sprint.