TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL MOVE FORWARD DESPITE DISSAPOINTING NZ ROUND Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has leapt into the Championship top ten after finishing fourth overall at a very eventful second round of the V8 Supercar Championship...
TEAM BETTA ELECTRICAL MOVE FORWARD DESPITE DISSAPOINTING NZ ROUND
Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has leapt into the Championship top ten after finishing fourth overall at a very eventful second round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Auckland's Pukekohe Park Raceway today.
In what was an action-packed day for the Brisbane based team both drivers became casualties of the controversial reverse grid race two despite their best efforts to avoid the on track carnage.
Jamie Whincup fell victim to a turn one pile up on the second lap of the race which caused extensive damage to the front and rear of his #88 Falcon while team-mate Craig Lowndes was given a drive through penalty for a dubious passing manoeuvre on Rick Kelly while challenging for tenth place.
As Whincup sat sidelined while the Triple Eight Race Engineering crew frantically repaired his race car for the final contest, Lowndes took his punishment and finished the shortened race in seventeenth place.
With the drivers combined race one and two results determining the grid positions for the third race Lowndes started from grid position six while the Clipsal 500 winner in a weekend he would rather forget started off grid position 20.
In the final 140km leg both Team Betta Electrical drivers drove faultlessly, salvaging positions and valuable championship points. Jamie Whincup clawed his way through the field to finish in the top ten while Lowndes passed fellow Ford driver Mark Winterbottom in spectacular style on the final lap to finish second behind the race and overall round winner Mark Skaife.
Thankful to be coming away with some good points Lowndes said he would review his reverse grid race strategy ahead of the third round of the championship.
"We salvaged a good result in the final race today which gave us fourth overall for the round and some good points but I simply don't like the reverse grids," Lowndes stated.
"It is unfortunate they are going play a big part in determining the championship as I always thought this was a driver's championship.
"I am going to have to review my strategy going forward and I think it will be to simply survive race two so we can be competitive in race three," Lowndes said.
A disappointed Jamie Whincup praised an outstanding effort by his team to repair his car for the final race today.
"I am definitely less of a fan of reverse grids now," Whincup said. "You virtually have no control over the circumstances
"Today's accident in race two was unavoidable, I absolutely had no where to go and we suffered extensive damage to the front and rear of the car.
"The only positives for me to take out of today were the great car speed and I the knowledge I have a fantastic team behind me.
"The way Triple Eight Race Engineering has designed the car and its reparability is just phenomenal, it was an outstanding effort by the entire team in getting car 88 back on the grid today," Whincup concluded.
In front of a record weekend crowd of 103,426 Holden's Mark Skaife won the second round of the championship ahead of Ford drivers Mark Winterbottom and Russell Ingall while Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes finished a credible fourth which elevated him to eighth in the championship and Jamie Whincup finished 15th for round which saw him slip to 6th in the championship.
Despite a disappointing weekend on track Team Principal Roland Dane was pleased to come away from the weekend with one key performance indicator achieved, the firm placement of both Team Betta Electrical Falcons inside the championship top ten.
"Whilst the weekends results were unsatisfactory these negative events cannot cloud the fact that we now have both our drivers inside the championship top ten," Dane said.
"Our feelings about reverse grids are well known and as far as I am concerned the lesser the better.
"So far we have seen no evidence to support Craig's penalty so maybe it was warranted maybe it wasn't," He added.
Triple Eight Race Engineering will spend the next two days preparing both Team Betta Electrical Falcons and all relevant components to be returned from NZ to its Brisbane base ahead of round three of the V8 Supercar Championship Series that will be held at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway May 12-14.