Winton: Team Betta Saturday report

LOWNDES GAINS VALUABLE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS WITH TOP TWO FINISH Craig Lowndes is proving to be the odd man out, with second place in the opening V8 Supercar race at Winton Motor Raceway today that saw nine of the top ten finishes, being drivers...

LOWNDES GAINS VALUABLE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS WITH TOP TWO FINISH

Craig Lowndes is proving to be the odd man out, with second place in the opening V8 Supercar race at Winton Motor Raceway today that saw nine of the top ten finishes, being drivers who regularly test at the Victorian circuit.

After qualifying ninth, the Team Betta Electrical driver leapt five places in the all important, top ten shootout and had he not missed a gear in the final sector, may well have qualified on pole position.

Jamie Whincup's race one voodoo was back, damage to the rear of Team Betta Electrical Falcon inciting a mechanical black flag only one lap before the pit window opened, which put him a lap down on the field after his compulsory pit stop.

While Lowndes got a great start moving into third place he was unable to progress past Holden driver Paul Dumbrell, the team then electing to pit early in order to get clean air.

The strategy was successful with Lowndes moving into second behind eventual race one winner Jason Bright.

"Winton has been in the past a bit of a lottery for me," Lowndes said. "So it was good to start cleanly and then gain a couple places today ensuring I am going into Race Two with a solid start to the weekend.

"Pitting early was not the ideal scenario, as our tyres certainly started to suffer in the later half of the race.

"I enjoyed the last seven laps having Jamie and myself acting as bookends to Brighty and clearly demonstrating that both Triple Eight prepared Falcons have got what it takes to match the major contenders in this championship," Lowndes added.

A philosophical Jamie Whincup who finished the race 26th put his black flag into perspective lamenting that sometimes racing accidents just simply occur.

"I am disappointed that we lost the opportunity to be in the top ten given our starting position but I am very encouraged with the pace and handling of car #88.

"Starting from sixth in the reverse grid race tomorrow will give me a good chance to gain places and redeem a missed opportunity that occurred in Perth.

"I also think I must have used up all my bad luck and I am looking forward to a better day tomorrow," Whincup added.

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.

-tbe-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Paul Dumbrell