Craig Lowndes has taken first blood at Sydney Motorsport Park, winning Race 18 of the V8 Supercars Championship at the western Sydney venue.
The TeamVodafone drove a cool and calm race, overhauling early leader Jonathon Webb to take his third V8 win in a row, adding to his double success at Queensand Raceway.
Lowndes’ championship leading team-mate Jamie Whincup ran inside the top five for the majority of the 36 lap race, only to suffer from a delaminating right rear tyre in the closing stages.
Whincup dropped to finish a lowly 23rd, losing 80 seconds to winner Lowndes in the last five laps.
The result sees Mark Winterbottom, who finished second, pick up the championship lead. The Orrcon Steel FPR driver shadowed Lowndes for most of the race, but didn’t have the speed to offer him a challenge.
Winterbottom’s team-mate Will Davison finished in third place. After making a slow start, Davison chipped his way back into podium contention, while never a race winning threat.
In terms of the championship, Winterbottom now holds a 20 point buffer over Whincup, with Davison a further 83 points behind. Lowndes remains in fourth, but has narrowed the gap to leader Winterbottom to 162 points.
Holden Racing Team driver Garth Tander qualified 13th but made up ground in his opening stint on hard tyres. The three-time Bathurst 1000 winner was one of the last of the leading runners to pits, racing up to take fourth place.
Russell Ingall took fifth place – the best of the six drivers who started the race on soft tyres. The Supercheap Auto driver finished ahead of his Walkinshaw Racing stablemate James Courtney.
Shane van Gisbergen, Michael Caruso, Webb and Jason Bright rounded out the top 10.
Webb, starting a career-best second, elected to start the race on soft tyres. After building a handy lead on the faster tyres, Webb was swallowed up by the Lowndes, Winterbottom and co. when they switched to the soft tyres.
In the incident department, the opening lap saw the Jim Beam Falcons of Dean Fiore and Steve Johnson involved in a clash with Taz Douglas, sending Fiore off the circuit.
Lee Holdsworth was involved in an incident with Michael Patrizi, with the IRWIN Racing Ford sent into wild spin at Turn 8. The battle was for 17th place.
The V8 Supercars Championship will continue at Sydney Motorsport Park tomorrow.
V8 Supercars, Race 18 Results
|1||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:17.3122|
|2||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||36||56:18.7733|
|3||Trading Post FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||36||56:30.7622|
|4||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:38.3482|
|5||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:38.5317|
|6||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:44.0430|
|7||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||36||56:48.1816|
|8||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:49.3387|
|9||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:50.0852|
|10||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:50.2532|
|11||Team Hiflex||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||36||56:53.1835|
|12||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:53.4706|
|13||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||36||56:56.0345|
|14||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||36||56:58.2977|
|15||Tekno Autosports||Michael Patrizi||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:05.0072|
|16||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||36||57:07.2448|
|17||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:08.3690|
|18||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:12.5121|
|19||Team Norton DJR||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||36||57:19.8368|
|20||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG||36||57:26.9615|
|21||Team iSelect||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:30.2610|
|22||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:31.8213|
|23||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:37.0393|
|24||Pepsi Max Crew||Jaques Villeneuve||Holden Commodore VE2||36||57:45.7235|
|25||Jim Beam Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||35||57:04.0241|
|26||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Falcon FG||35||57:05.9577|
|27||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||35||57:21.7216|
|28||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VE2||34||56:25.2663|
Points after Race 18
|5||Shane van Gisbergen||1568|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Sydney Motorsport Park 360 Race Guide.