Craig Lowndes dedicates Safari win to Peter Brock

Speedcafe.com

Saturday 25th September, 2010 - 7:40pm

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Craig Lowndes on his way to victory in Esperance

Craig Lowndes on his way to victory in Esperance

Craig Lowndes has won the Australasian Safari in Western Australia.

After taking first place with Kees Weel, the V8 Supercar star dedicated his victory in the gruelling event to his mentor, the late Peter Brock.

Lowndes entered the seven day off-road event in memory of Brock, who never won the endurance off-road rally-raid.

Driving a Holden Colorado, Lowndes crossed the finish line in Esperance to claim victory by 1 hour 12 minutes and 44 seconds, the Nissan Patrol of Victorians Darren Green and Wayne Smith second.

Driving a specially modified V8 Colorado, Lowndes and Weel dominated the Safari winning nine of the 17 competitive stages run, covering 3,600 kilometres through the WA bush during the last seven days.

“Peter [Brock] loved the Safari and tried to win it a number of times, so it’s a great sense of achievement to be able to complete some of his unfinished business,” Lowndes said.

Craig Lownde and Kees Weel on the podium

Lowndes and Weel on the podium

“I was new to this event, an unknown quantity, and pretty much unprepared for what we were faced with. I had only done two days of testing, and I even rolled the Colorado on the first.

“I knew it was going to be tough, the Safari is a complete 180 to what I am used to in V8 Supercars, it was as tough an event as I’ve ever done, like getting up and doing the Bathurst 1000 every day.

“But Kees and our crew had the experience and our equipment was good enough to win, so the victory is a credit to Kees, the PWR Holden Rally Team, and the durability of the Colorado. It’s a great accomplishment for the whole team.”

Lowndes now turns his attention to next month’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Along with Mark Skaife, the TeamVodafone driver will be one of the favourites after victory in the warm-up to Australia’s great race, the L&H Phillip Island 500 just two weeks ago.

Bathurst’s Ben Grabham made it a trifecta for himself and the CPW Safari /SP Tools/KTM Racing Team when he took out first place the moto division today.

Grabham was in the lead in all but one Leg this week, finishing convincingly today an overall 17 minutes ahead of the next fastest Todd Smith.

“It was a fun way to finish, riding across the sand dunes and the beach, although getting through the sand was a bit tough,” said Smith.

“After all the hard work, it’s a big relief it’s over not just for me but also for the mechanics and the whole team.”

Ben Grabham won the bike section

Ben Grabham won the bike section

Todd Smith completed a gritty performance placing second despite nursing a shoulder injury sustained on the first day of competition and having his brother Jacob out of the event with a broken ankle.

Paul Smith was the victor of the quad bikes, having a great run all week.  He lead the quad riders from Leg 2 and kept his lead for the remainder of the event. In the true spirit of Safari, Smith towed in his fellow quad competitor Colin Lawson for the last four or five kilometres of the stage.  

Proof of the difficulty of Safari is the number of competitors who manage to reach it to the finish.

The event commenced with 112 vehicles on the Prologue Day and only 64 vehicles finished today, a 40 per cent attrition rate.

Check out the video

Results : Auto Division

1

Craig Lowndes / Kees Weel

Holden Colorado

30:54:59

2

Darren Green / Wayne Smith

Nissan Patrol

32:11:38

3

Bruce Garland / Harry Suzuki

Isuzu DMAX

32:42:42

4

Kerry Turley / Naomi Tillett

Nissan Patrol

33:41:14

5

Tony Flood / Tom van Kann

Mitsubishi Pajero

34:35:46

6

Adrian Di Lallo / Robert Masi

Mitsubishi Pajero Evo

38:18:38

7

Graeme Muldrew / Keith Earle

Mitsubishi Pajero

39:02:37

8

Peter Muir / Greg Walker

Mitsubishi Pajero

41:52:17

9

Les Walkden / Linda Long

Mitsubishi Pajero

43:35:31

10

Zhoe Yuan De / Du Taigung

Quang Qi Chang Feng CFA2-31C

45:09:39

Results : Moto Division

1

Ben Grabham

KTM 530 EXC

25:04:20

2

Todd Smith

KTM 530 EXC

25:22:31

3

Matthew Fish

KTM 530 EXC

26:07:59

4

David Schwarz

Husaberg FE570

28:21:55

5

David Beavis

Honda CRF 450

28:36:05

6

Kenny Scott

Honda CRF 450

30:09:43

7

Robert Lang

KTM 450EXC

30:26:33

8

James Anthony Chittick

Honda CRF 450

30:29:12

9

Anthony Diener

Honda XR 650

30:40:00

10

Darrin Appleby

KTM 530 EXC

31:47:22

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