Last lap heartache for TeamVodafone at the L&H 500. In a dramatic finish to the L&H 500 at Phillip Island, TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup were denied victory in the dying stages of the final lap of the 114-lap race due to ...
Last lap heartache for TeamVodafone at the L&H 500.
In a dramatic finish to the L&H 500 at Phillip Island, TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup were denied victory in the dying stages of the final lap of the 114-lap race due to a delaminating front right tyre.
Lowndes, who took over driving duties from Whincup on Lap 54 of the race, had jostled with Holden rival Garth Tander for the lead before regaining control on Lap 98.
The TeamVodafone driver pulled out to a 3 second lead with just 10 laps to go but for the last five laps, Lowndes had difficulty turning left with limited grip and control.
Tander passed Lowndes on the final lap with the TeamVodafone driver unable to even defend his track position.
"Them's the breaks," Lowndes admitted. "This is motorsport where you have highs and lows, unfortunately today we finished on a low."
"The tyre started to go five laps from the end and with one lap remaining I just couldn't turn left."
"Now I know how Jamie felt last year, but it now gives us both enormous motivation for Bathurst," he said.
Teammate Jamie Whincup started the race and then led for his entire stint handing over a handy two second lead.
"We finished in this position last year lets hope its an omen for the next race," Whincup said.
"Our cars were slightly off pace with cold tyres and full tanks but once things had settled down both Craig and I got good rhythm and consistent lap times which also augers well for Bathurst."
"I am really proud of Craig today, it was a ding dong battle and psychologically we have the stronger mindset knowing we have a quicker car at this time of the year," he continued.
On the other side of the garage there was a see-sawing of positions with strong driving from Allan Simonsen rising from 23rd to 14th before his first stop.
A drive through penalty dropped them back to 24th and they managed to rise again before V8 Supercar debutante James Thompson fell victim to Turn 2 on cold tyres and excursioned through the gravel trap. The duo finished in 21st position an admirable effort given the circumstances.
"I felt I drove quite well today and the car felt quite strong and familiar," Simonsen said. "I am just slightly miffed that I locked up and bumped the #33 Commodore."
"It is good to get this practice in before we head upto the mountain." A delighted James Thompson said he had learnt so much over this weekend.
"These cars are just so masculine," he explained. You really need to hustle them around but then respect the need to warm up your tyres.
The team will now turn their focus to the Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 where they will aim to become the first pairing to ever win four consective Bathurst 1000's.Top Ten Race Results L&H 500