Ipswich favourite steps up bid for next Supercars title
QUEENSLAND Raceway supremo Craig Lowndes is hunting his fourth Supercars championship title after another commanding display in Ipswich.
Lowndes also equalled Mark Skaife's record as the most successful Holden driver of all time after his victory in today's 200km race at Willowbank.
After finishing third in Saturday's Ipswich SuperSprint race, Lowndes moved to 1671 points, to close the gap on the championship top three Jamie Whincup (1821), Shane van Gisbergen (1711) and last year's overall winner Mark Winterbottom (1701).
"We sort of click around this place,'' Lowndes said, clearly pleased with his 12th victory at Queensland Raceway since 1999.
"It's not often you get a really nice, easy car to drive in a race like that. It was really important to get a good start and we did that.''
Today's win was the 150th in his career and 80th for Holden, joining Skaife on that number.
The TeamVortex racer got away to a blinding start from second on the grid.
Championship leader and fastest qualifier Whincup was denied his 100th win in finishing second today, the same placing as on Saturday.
"Jamie did a fantastic job keeping everyone at bay . . . it's a credit to our team,'' Lowndes said.
"We massaged the car overnight and it felt really nice in qualifying. We got the best out of it.
"Ludo (Lacroix, race engineer) made another one of his magical calls in saving a brand new set of tyres for the race.
"We opted not to do our third run, which proved to be a huge benefit for the race. We were lucky to stay on the front row beside Jamie and got a ripper start.
"With that brand new set of tyres, we split them and put them down the left-hand side for the second and third stints and that paid dividends.
"We go away from this weekend with some great results.''
The next Sydney Motorsport Park weekend is from August 26-28, the final sprint round before the Enduro Cup begins.
Whincup said it was another "up and down day''.
"Getting pole was great, but then I had a pretty bad start with locking the wheel and going through the gravel trap, so I could have done better with that,'' Whincup said.
"Not my finest day in the car, but the team really stepped up today. It is my best Sunday result this year, it was a solid day and we got some good points.''
After a blustery Saturday, the drivers had to contend with hotter, faster conditions today.
Third placegetter Chaz Mostert also today resumed his affinity with Queensland Raceway.
"We've got a bit of homework to do when we go back to the workshop and try and work on a bit more tyre life on this soft tyre but overall I'm pretty happy to get back on the podium,'' he said.
"This is my home race. I've had some good success here so to spray champagne with these guys is pretty special today.''