Lowndes' podium finish edges him closer to third in the championship. TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes has finished third in the opening race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge today, and in doing so reduced the gap to third in the championship to...
Lowndes' podium finish edges him closer to third in the championship.
TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes has finished third in the opening race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge today, and in doing so reduced the gap to third in the championship to 27 points.
A small error in the top ten shootout saw Lowndes start today's 33-lap race from sixth on the grid and the TeamVodafone driver endured a number of frustrating laps before he was able to move into the top four.
Opting for the harder control tyre during his pitstop on Lap 22 of the race proved fruitful for Lowndes who was able to pass cars struggling with their worn soft compound tyres. "Third was a good result considering I made it a bit hard for myself by making a mistake in the shootout," Lowndes explained.
"My car was very consistent but we are still a little bit off the mark in terms of the pace that Will (Davison) had today."
"The best thing to come out of today is that I have really reduced the points gap to Garth (Tander). There are now only 27points separating us in the championship standings," Lowndes said.
Championship leader Jamie Whincup was the quickest man in the morning's qualifying sessions, setting a new lap record with a time of 1:09.6670. The TeamVodafone driver started the race from second on the grid after recording a shootout lap that was less than three tenths off that of pole sitter Will Davison.
Whincup got a great start and took an early lead in today's race but didn't quite have the pace to stay with Davison. A lengthy pitstop on Lap 23 of the race ended his hopes of a podium finish but the reigning champion continued to push hard and eventually finished sixth.
"I was disappointed with my result today," Whincup said. "Given our success here in the past I was definitely looking for a better result."
"I didn't have the soft tyre pace to match Will (Davison) and then a stuck wheel nut during the pitstop took away any chance of a podium finish.
"We will go away and have a look at our tyres and data and see where we can improve the car for tomorrow's longer race," he added.
The V8 Supercars will be back on track at the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge at 10.15am tomorrow for qualifying ahead of Race 14 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series which will get underway at 1.05pm.