RED Bull Racing Australia driver Craig Lowndes has brought home the first of two races in the Gold Coast 600. Lowndes is now the leader of the V8 Supercars Championship with a 36 point lead over teammate Jamie Whincup.
After securing the crucial pole position start after taking out James Courtney and Garth Tander in the all-important top-10 shoot-out, Lowndes and co-driver Warren Luff managed to keep the nose of their VF Commodore clean to bring home the first race of the weekend.
Although not a seamless run after a punctured rear left wheel, Lowndes still managed to post the fastest lap of the race at 1min10.93 on lap 91 adding to his 3rd win on the Gold Coast track.
“This weekend has always been an Achilles heel for me so it’s nice to have a good run and finish at the top of the podium,” Lowndes said.
“The punctured tyre threw our original strategy a bit and full credit to the team for getting us back to where we ended up. Once the rear tyre settled down we managed to maintain good pace and keep that first place gap.
“It’s the best shot that I’ve had in a long time at the Championship.”
Luck wasn’t on their side for Car No.1 duo Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell, posting a DNF. After scoring the fastest laps in practice on Friday, an unfortunate red flag incident in qualifying saw them pushed to the back of the grid in 25th position for Race 30. A bonnet bingle off the back of HRT’s Greg Murphy early in the race called for an extended pit stop but even after getting the VF Commodore back out the final straw was a mechanical malfunction stopping the car in its track.
“When you qualify down the back you expect crashes and you’re lucky if you don’t have any,” Whincup said.
“It wasn’t our day and we’ve taken a big hit but that’s racing so now we’re just looking to tomorrow.”
Qualifying for Race 31 starts tomorrow at 10:55am with the race kicking off at 1:45pm AEDT. Check television guides for details or stream all the action live at www.v8superview.com.