Lowndes and Skaife win L&H 500 Phillip Island

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Sunday 18th September, 2011 - 4:49pm

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Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife have won the 2011 L&H 500 Phillip Island

Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife have won the 2011 L&H 500 Phillip Island

Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife have defended their L&H 500 crown, scoring victory at Phillip Island today.

The TeamVodafone pair finished ahead of team-mates Jamie Whincup and Andrew Thompson, after Whincup passed Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Racing) on the penultimate lap.

Van Gisbergen had pressured Lowndes throughout the final stint – closing the margin to his Holden rival down to 3.5s with 10 laps remaining.

It was not to be for van Gisbergen however, as a right-front tyre issue saw the Kiwi quickly fall away, before losing position to Whincup, Will Davison (Trading Post Racing) and Garth Tander (Toll Holden Racing Team) across the final two laps.

Despite co-driver Nick Percat having to start the #2 HRT entry from pitlane after stalling on the grid, Tander led the race at the beginning of the final stint, but could not match the pace of his rivals across the closing 30 laps.

Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes celebrate back-to-back L&H 500 wins

Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes celebrate back-to-back L&H 500 wins

Percat’s error forced an aborted start, and left Luke Youlden to take a comfortable lead once the event finally got underway.

John McIntyre (SP Tools Racing) and Dean Canto (The Bottle-O Racing) ran second and third respectively in the opening laps, before Thompson and Skaife – who made minor contact with each other at Turn 4 on Lap 1 – eased their way towards the front.

Thompson took the lead from Youlden after 14 laps, while Skaife repeated car #888’s strategy from last year by pitting early (Lap 16).

Skaife resumed in the effective lead once Thompson pitted seven laps later, but was then powerless to stop his younger team-mate’s grip advantage in the second stint.

Thompson had the lead out to 4s over Skaife before the second round of stops, with Youlden a further 14s back in third – who in turn was being hounded by a determined Percat.

As the co-drivers all exited the leading cars between Laps 47 and 49, the race was effectively re-set with Lowndes 3s in-front of team-mate Whincup – the #88 car having lost time in the driver change due to the Skaife-induced driver’s door damage.

The gap remained stagnant at the front until a pair of Cape Barren Geese appeared at Turn 4 on Lap 64 – bringing out the race’s one and only Safety Car period.

With almost the entire field taking the opportunity to pit, Whincup’s chances again suffered as he was forced to queue behind Lowndes.

The race resumed with Lowndes leading Tander, Will Davison, Whincup, Steve Owen (VIP Petfoods Racing), Greg Ritter (Fujitsu Racing), Steven Johnson (Jim Beam Racing), van Gisbergen, James Courtney (Toll Holden Racing Team) and David Reynolds (Stratco Racing).

Lowndes set the fastest lap of the race to date on the re-start lap, but quickly found himself under pressure from Tander, who eventually found his way by with a sensational inside pass at Turn 1 on Lap 76.

The factory Holden driver then instigated the final round of stops when he dived for the pitlane on Lap 79, after which point the race took his final turn.

Having run just two new (rear) tyres in the fourth stint, Lowndes’ car was transformed after the final stop, pressuring Tander for four laps before taking the lead for good at MG Corner.

Van Gisbergen proved a surprise contender in the closing stages. Running 30s behind Lowndes at the midpoint of the race, the Stone Brothers Falcon gained greatly from the mid-race Safety Car, and proved the most tyre efficient car as the race progressed.

Slotting into the pack fourth – between a dicing Whincup and Will Davison – after his last stop, van Gisbergen made it to second place by Lap 97, before tyre issues significantly blunted his charge over the final eight laps.

Tander beat van Gisbergen to the line by just 0.0015s, despite having fallen off the road at Turn 4 on Lap 106, allowing Will Davison through to an eventual third.

Reynolds held on for sixth ahead of a charging Jason Bright – whose race was severely hampered by an drive-through-penalty for co-driver Andrew Jones after an early hit on Steven Richards (Orrcon Steel FPR).

Rick Kelly brought his Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodore home eighth ahead of Courtney and Fabian Coulthard (Bundaberg Racing), while Mark Winterbottom (Orrcon Steel FPR) struggled home 17th with bent steering.

The V8 Supercars Championship continues with the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 6-9.

See below for the full L&H 500 result

1 TeamVodafone C.Lowndes/M.Skaife Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:13.2041
2 TeamVodafone J.Whincup/A.Thompson Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:19.5246
3 Trading Post FPR Falcon W.Davison/L.Youlden Ford Falcon FG 113 03:08:22.4172
4 Toll Holden Racing Team G.Tander/N.Percat Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:28.8276
5 SP Tools Racing S.Van Gisbergen/J.McIntyre Ford Falcon FG 113 03:08:28.8291
6 Stratco Racing D.Reynolds/T.Blanchard Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:32.7481
7 Team Boc J.Bright/A.Jones Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:40.5791
8 Jack Daniel’s Racing R.Kelly/O.Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:45.5526
9 Toll Holden Racing Team J.Courtney/C.McConville Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:47.8172
10 Bundaberg Racing F.Coulthard/C.Baird Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:08:54.1586
11 Jana Living Racing J.Bargwanna/S.Price Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:02.8816
12 Fujitsu Racing GRM L.Holdsworth/G.Ritter Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:05.4988
13 Pepsi Max Crew G.Murphy/A.Simonsen Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:15.8124
14 Jack Daniel’s Racing T.Kelly/David Russell Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:20.5841
15 VIP Petfoods S.Owen/P.Morris Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:20.8000
16 Fujitsu Racing GRM M.Caruso/M.Marshall Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:27.3506
17 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon M.Winterbottom/S.Richards Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:30.8892
18 Mother Energy Racing Team J.Webb/R.Lyons Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:32.8809
19 Triple F Racing D.Fiore/M.Patrizi Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:35.2925
20 Supercheap Auto Racing R.Ingall/J.Perkins Holden Commodore VE2 113 03:09:37.7942
21 Wilson Security Racing D.Wood/T.Douglas Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:37.9803
22 Irwin Racing A.Davison/D.Brabham Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:40.9345
23 The Bottle-O Racing Team P.Dumbrell/D.Canto Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:43.4596
24 Lucky 7 Racing T.Slade/D.Gaunt Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:43.6874
25 Jim Beam Racing J.Moffat/M.Halliday Ford Falcon FG 113 03:09:46.4981
26 Jim Beam Racing S.Johnson/D.Besnard Ford Falcon FG 112 03:08:24.9338
27 Gulf Western Oil Racing W.Luff/N.Pretty Holden Commodore VE2 111 03:08:50.6557
28 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing K.Reindler/D.Wall Holden Commodore VE2 100 03:08:24.3771

See below for the updated championship points

 

1 Jamie Whincup 2145
2 Craig Lowndes 2053
3 Shane Van Gisbergen 1716
4 Rick Kelly 1585
5 Garth Tander 1548
6 Will Davison 1544
7 Mark Winterbottom 1447
8 Steven Johnson 1411
9 Alex Davison 1334
10 Jason Bright 1280
11 Lee Holdsworth 1275
12 Fabian Coulthard 1275
13 Tim Slade 1190
14 Michael Caruso 1044
15 Greg Murphy 1036
16 Steve Owen 989
17 James Courtney 985
18 David Reynolds 976
19 Jason Bargwanna 974
20 Paul Dumbrell 952
21 James Moffat 935
22 Russell Ingall 912
23 Todd Kelly 857
24 Jonathon Webb 836
25 Dean Fiore 728
26 Karl Reindler 703
27 Tony D’Alberto 661
28 Warren Luff 534
29 Mark Skaife 256
30 Andrew Thompson 250
31 Luke Youlden 242
32 Nick Percat 227
33 John McIntyre 214
34 Tim Blanchard 192
35 Owen Kelly 167
36 Cameron McConville 166
37 Andrew Jones 163
38 Craig Baird 148
39 Allan Simonsen 143
40 David Russell 136
41 Greg Ritter 135
42 Steven Richards 126
43 Shane Price 125
44 Paul Morris 124
45 Marcus Marshall 123
46 Dean Canto 109
47 Richard Lyons 100
48 Jack Perkins 100
49 Michael Patrizi 97
50 Taz Douglas 93
51 Daniel Gaunt 81
52 David Brabham 79
53 Matt Halliday 77
54 Nathan Pretty 72
55 Dale Wood 68
56 David Besnard 66
57 David Wall 59

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