Craig Lowndes said he was delighted to finish third in today’s opening race of the Clipsal 500, after fighting through from 11th on the grid.
After making up several places in the opening stages, the TeamVodafone driver was the first to commit to a three-stop strategy by pitting on Lap 17.
While a Safety Car soon after appeared to hurt the 1999 Adelaide 500 winner’s cause, subsequent yellow flag periods saw Lowndes end up back on the same strategy as front-runners Garth Tander and Jamie Whincup by halfway through the race.
“We set a different strategy from the outset and the Safety Car didn’t help us,” said Lowndes.
“We pitted and then the Safety Car came out, so we had to pit again, which ended up putting us back on the strategy that Garth and Jamie were on.
“So it’s one of those things that we’ll have a look at tonight. It didn’t hurt us ultimately, but it’s one of those things that could have been better for us.
“But that ‘s the way the race goes, you don’t know when the Safety Cars are going to come out.”
Lowndes made his way through the field in the final third of the race, passing several rivals, including Team BOC’s Jason Bright, into the braking area at Turn 4.
“I’m delighted (to be third),” said Lowndes.
“I started 11th, we messed up qualifying, and that makes it hard during the day to get back those spots.
“Before the second last restart, Jeremy (Moore, race engineer) told me a lot of the guys were on their last warning (for jumpin the Turn 2 kerb), and I didn’t have one at that point, so I knew that I could at least push a bit harder during that section of the race to try and get a run on them into Turn 4, which we did.
“So for me it was a great result, and I just ran out of laps. The guys in front of me were having a ding-dong battle – it was great to watch.”
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