TeamVodafone’s Craig Lowndes won the first part of V8 Supercars’ Race 20 after leading every lap on the concrete-lined Surfers Paradise streets.
But it was a mixed result for the champion Falcon team after series leader and reigning Champion Jamie Whincup collected the wall when he made a mistake on the second last lap.
Whincup’s DNF status means that he’ll start this afternoon’s Part B race from position 23 and reduces the gap in the championship between him and Will Davison to just 20 points.
The result could have been a lot worse for Whincup, had Davison not struck problems of his own. The Toll Holden Racing Team driver lost two laps when he damaged the front bar of his Commodore when he clipped a tyre bundle. Davison finished in 21st – but the key was that he actually finished …
Mark Winterbottom took second place after starting sixth, while Garth Tander put in a solid drive to come from 12th to third place.
Supercheap Auto driver Russell Ingall was fourth ahead of Dick Johnson Racing duo James Courtney and Steve Johnson.
Bundaberg Red racer David Reynolds had a career-best finish of seventh in his V8 Surfers debut.
It was certainly an eventful race, and the action started at the start-line.
Fabian Coulthard made a terrific start from grid 20 and split between Lee Holdsworth and Cameron McConville. Coulthard and McConville collided, sending both into the wall at terrific speed. Coulthard’s Wilson Security Racing Falcon was heavily damaged.
The first corner also saw Steven Richards clash with the rear of Greg Murphy, spinning the Kiwi down to the back of the field. Richards was handed a drive-through penalty for his actions.
Pole-sitter Jason Bargwanna’s great morning pole position turned to nought when a dropped a cylinder dropped in the early stages of the race. A quick pit stop to rectify the problem was a success and the Sprint Gas driver raced through the field to take ninth place.
Murphy and Bargwanna benefited from a couple of Safety Car periods to be close to the top 10, but a clash between Holdsworth and Murphy saw the pair spin and resulted in havoc at the back chicane. All cars got away with minimal damage.
Rick Kelly ran in second place for the first part of the race before a black flag for a fuel leak spoiled his race. He finished 20th.
Weekend fast man Shane van Gisbergen was running seventh until he took too much kerb at the start of the last Safety Car at the second chicane and collected the tyre wall. The impact ripped the door off the SP Tools Falcon FG.
It was an eventful race with a lot of damage, so the team’s will be working overtime to prepare their cars for the 3.05pm final race start.