Craig Lowndes takes record-equalling win in Adelaide

Craig Lowndes has won Red Bull Racing Australia's first race in V8 Supercars

Craig Lowndes has won Red Bull Racing Australia’s first race in V8 Supercars

Craig Lowndes has joined Mark Skaife at the top of the all-time V8 Supercars/ATCC race winners list with victory in the opening leg of the 2013 Clipsal 500.

The Red Bull Racing Australia driver proved the class of the field in the first ‘Car of the Future’ era race, leading home the FPR Falcon of Will Davison by over 20 seconds.

Jamie Whincup completed the podium despite struggling for outright speed in a race that ran green for its entire 78 lap duration.

The race got off to a chaotic start with pole-sitter Shane van Gisbergen dropping to 10th after stalling, handing the lead to Winterbottom.

The Pepsi Falcon only headed the pack for a handful of corners before it struck more permanent problems in the form of a broken gearbox.

That left Fabian Coulthard with the top spot – a position he held until being jumped by Lowndes and a short-pitting Whincup at the first round of stops.

Lowndes set about building a comfortable margin in the second stint as a struggling Whincup held Coulthard behind.

Coulthard’s fuel-in-hand advantage then saw the Lockwood Holden back ahead of Whincup after the second stops before a brake problem emerged with less than 15 laps to run, resigning Coulthard to a 19th place finish.

Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, had fallen out of third position with a broken gearbox just two laps before Coulthard’s problems struck.

The misfortune of the Kiwis played into the hands of Davison, who had been as low as 10th at half distance after undertaking a long first stint.

The race was a largely straight forward affair for Alexandre Premat, James Courtney, Scott McLaughlin and Garth Tander, who filled fourth through seventh at the flag, while Jonathon Webb’s eighth place came despite heavy contact with the Turn 4 wall while running sixth in the closing stages.

Alex Davison and Russell Ingall rounded out the top 10, with the latter having survived a hefty hit of his own against the Turn 11 exit wall early in the going.

Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima survived to be the best of the new manufacturer entries in 11th, while Tim Slade was four places further back in the top Mercedes.

The race went rather less well for Nissan pair Todd Kelly (whose Altima completed a smokey 16 laps before retirement) and Michael Caruso (who lost time with power steering problems).

Lee Holdsworth struggled with extreme temperatures in his Mercedes on the way to 17th, but at least fared better than Maro Engel, who lost laps early when electronic problems saw the German stranded on the grid.

Another out of contention early was David Reynolds, who pulled his FPR Falcon to pitlane at the end of the warm-up lap with driveline issues.

Just 13 cars took the chequered flag on the lead lap.

See below for Race 1 results:

Pos Team Driver Car Best lap
1 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:22.4277
2 Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Will Davison Ford Falcon FG 1:22.3674
3 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:23.0090
4 Fujitsu Racing GRM Alexandre Premat Holden Commodore VF 1:22.6562
5 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:22.7225
6 Fujitsu Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Holden Commodore VF 1:22.5636
7 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:22.7571
8 Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb Holden Commodore VF 1:22.5974
9 Jeld-wen FPR Ford Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 1:22.4344
10 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VF 1:22.6470
11 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:22.9384
12 Team HIFLEX Tony D’Alberto Holden Commodore VF 1:22.9733
13 ekol Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 1:22.4540
14 Norton 360 Racing James Moffat Nissan Altima 1:23.1320
15 Heavy Haulage Racing Tim Slade Mercedes E63 AMG 1:23.4315
16 Wilson Security Racing David Wall Holden Commodore VF 1:22.6869
17 Irwin Racing Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG 1:23.5267
18 Advam Tim Blanchard Ford Falcon FG 1:23.5865
19 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 1:22.5185
20 The Bottle-O FPR Ford David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG 1:23.0617
21 Dodo Insurance Racing Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VF 1:23.4151
22 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 1:22.5459
23 Norton 360 Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:23.3434
24 SP Tools Racing Maro Engel Mercedes E63 AMG 1:24.2454
DNF TEKNO Team VIP Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:22.3623
DNF Wilson Security Racing Jonny Reid Ford Falcon FG 1:24.0988
DNF Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:23.6656
DNF Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1:22.3079*

See below for Speedcafe.com’s live Tweets (@speedcafe) from Race 1 of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship

V8 Supercars on warm-up lap for Race 1 of the 2013 championship in Adelaide #V8SC

Engel car is stationary on grid. “The throttle pedal is giving me nothing at all,” he says #V8SC

Engel still trying to fire the car, which is being pushed down the front straight #V8SC

Winterbottom leads Coulthard through the first chicane after a poor start from Van Gisbergen #V8SC

Winterbottom can’t get out of second gear and pits at the end of the opening lap #V8SC

Coulthard now leads Lowndes, Whincup, Webb, Premat, Davison, Courtney, McLaughlin, Ingall, Van Giz #V8SC

“Whatever happened out there I couldn’t get third gear,” says Winterbottom, who now says it’s fine and he wants to rejoin #V8SC

“I don’t know what happened mate. It kept crunching into third – I couldn’t get it,” adds Winterbottom as he rejoins #V8SC

“I can get it when I’m in the air (on the jacks) but I can’t get it when I’m going” – Winterbottom #V8SC

Reynolds pitted on the warm-up with a transmission problem of his own #V8SC

Bright meanwhile pitted on just the second lap, but has now rejoined #V8SC

Engel is back in the fray after a problem with his fly-by-wire throttle #V8SC

Smoke is pouring from the back of Todd Kelly’s Nissan. He’s running 21st #V8SC

Gaps after five laps: Coulthard 1.2s Lowndes 2s Whincup 0.3s Webb 1s Davison #V8SC

Todd Kelly says the oil is only coming out of the breather and wants to go straight back out #V8SC

The team rolls the #7 Nissan back into pitlane and Todd rejoins #V8SC

Van Gisbergen passes Courtney, moving back up to seventh having dropped as low as 10th on the opening lap #V8SC

Blanchard has a right-rear tyre rubbing and is going slowly #V8SC

Replays show that Blanchard was tagged into a spin at Turn 6 by Todd Kelly, which ended with a brush against the tyre wall #V8SC

Todd Kelly’s Nissan is still smoking on the circuit #V8SC

Coulthard enjoys a 1.7s lead over Lowndes after 11 laps and says he’s just driving to the gap #V8SC

Eighth placed Ingall hit the wall at the exit of Turn 11 and has dropped to 11th #V8SC

Replays confirm that Ingall gave the Turn 11 exit wall a fair whack with the right-rear. He continues on track #V8SC

Lap 15  Whincup and Webb pit from third and fifth respectively. #V8SC

Race Control has noted that Todd Kelly’s car is now smoking heavily again #V8SC

Tander pits for four tyres and fuel #V8SC

Pye tips the lapped Blanchard into a spin at Turn 9 #V8SC

Todd Kelly is issued a mechanical black flag #V8SC

McLaughlin has now pitted and rejoins directly in front of Tander #V8SC

Engel says the engine is not revving-up cleanly any more. He’s in the garage #V8SC

Order Lap 20: Coulthard, Lowndes,  Davison, Van Giz, Premat, Ingall, R.Kelly, A.Davison, Pye, Moffat #V8SC

Lowndes has Coulthard’s lead down to 0.5s #V8SC

Holdsworth is overheating in his car. “I need a heap of cold water splashed on me,” he says as he pits #V8SC

The Erebus team will also put heat shielding on Holdsworth’s boots as his feet are burning #V8SC

Fluid leak report out on Caruso’s car #V8SC

Lowndes finally pits from second on Lap 24. He had been one second adrift of leader Coulthard #V8SC

Van Gisbergen is third, 10s behind Coulthard, and will pit this lap. Coulthard in too #V8SC

Russell Ingall has also pitted. Will and Alex Davison are now running one-two #V8SC

Coulthard has rejoined behind both Lowndes and Whincup, but appears to have taken on more fuel than his Red Bull rivals #V8SC

Scott Pye has been handed a drive-through for crossing the blend line #V8SC

Coulthard has fuel-in-hand over Lowndes but is now being held-up by Whincup #V8SC

Fiore is sporting left-side damage after a hit on the Turn 4 exit wall #V8SC

Will Davison continues to circulate in the lead and is yet to stop #V8SC

Top 10 after 30 laps: Davison, Lowndes, Whincup, Coulthard, Van Giz, Webb, Premat, Courtney, McLaughlin, Tander #V8SC

Smoke is now emanating from Rick Kelly’s #15 Nissan. Brother Todd remains in the garage #V8SC

Davison pits after 31 laps for fuel, tyres and a mirror tweak #V8SC

Davison rejoins in 10th – splitting Tander and Bright, but has fuel-in-hand over those around him #V8SC

Lap 34 Coulthard continues to stalk Whincup for second, with fourth-placed Van Giz closing in. Lowndes leads by 12s #V8SC

Holdsworth told the Erebus crew have another ‘foot pad’ ready for his next stop, expected in 11 laps time #V8SC

Engel’s car is crawling down the back straight. He’s already 11 laps down #V8SC

Lowndes continues to ease away at the front. He resets the fastest lap last time by to 1:22.55s #V8SC

Lap 40 order and gaps: Lowndes 15.5s Whincup 0.4s Coulthard 1s Van Giz 4.1s Webb 0.6s Premat #V8SC

Caruso’s car is smoking but he’s told to “press on until we get a warning” #V8SC

Bright pits on Lap 42 for his second and final stop #V8SC

Lowndes now leads Whincup by 16.5s on Lap 44

Davison has taken McLaughlin for eighth. The Pepsi Ford is just 13s off second place  #V8SC

Coulthard takes second from Whincup on Lap 45 #V8SC

Whincup pits on Lap 46 for tyres and fuel #V8SC

Coulthard, Webb and Ingall pit. Lockwood Holden returns to the track in front of Whincup as expected #V8SC

Caruso has a power steering problem and will pit this lap #V8SC

Van Gisbergen pits. He rejoins behind Coulthard but ahead of Whincup #V8SC

Just Lowndes and Davison to go to complete the second pitstop cycle at the front #V8SC

Coulthard is stuck in traffic. Van Gisbergen closes in #V8SC

Lowndes pits on Lap 52. Will Davison takes the lead but needs to stop again #V8SC

Lowndes rejoins with a big lead over Coulthard. Davison slots into sixth behind Webb #V8SC

Van Giz stuck behind lapped Fiore. “Flash your lights and give him a touch up,” engineer Blake Smith tells SVG, who gets by cleanly #V8SC

New order and gaps: Lowndes 18s Coulthard 1s Van Giz 2.4s Whincup 1.7s Webb 0.9s Davison #V8SC

Webb is now on his third kerb strike and told to be cautious #V8SC

Seventh through 12th: Premat, Courtney, McLaughlin, Tander, Ingall, A.Davison #V8SC

Whincup says he’s locking rears. He’s now 3.5s adrift of Van Gisbergen #V8SC

Bright pits and says he has broken suspension or a flat tyre #V8SC

Bright had hit the Turn 2 kerb hard on the lap that he had the failure #V8SC

Davison is up to fourth as Webb clobbers the Turn 4 exit fence #V8SC

Webb is pressing on despite a sizeable hit. A big accident was only narrowly avoided as Webb reversed out of the wall #V8SC

Webb is down to 10th and says there was oil all over Turn 4 #V8SC

Van Gisbergen has pitted and is in the garage. Team being told to look at his burning feet #V8SC

Lap 66 Van Gisbergen’s problem was a broken gearbox. Coulthard meanwhile has dropped behind Davison and Whincup #V8SC

Order on Lap 66: Lowndes 26.2s Davison 2.2s Whincup 5.4s Coulthard 3.5s Premat #V8SC

Coulthard is struggling with a mechanical problem and begins dropping down the order #V8SC

“I’ve pretty much got no brakes,” says Coulthard, who is told to bring it in #V8SC

The Kiwi asks how many laps there are to go and says he’ll “try and roll around” #V8SC

Lockwood team will add more brake fluid as they believe there is a leak #V8SC

Lowndes’ lead over Davison is 25s with 10 laps to go #V8SC

Top 10 on Lap 70: Lowndes, Davison, Whincup, Premat, Courtney, McLaughlin, Tander, Webb, Davison, Ingall #V8SC

Coulthard returns to the track after a brake fluid top-up. He’s 19th #V8SC

Lowndes has started his last lap. He’ll match Mark Skaife’s all time race win record of 90 if he brings this home #V8SC

Craig Lowndes takes a dominant victory in the opening race of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship #V8SC

“Thanks guys, what a bloody day,” says Lowndes #V8SC

Result: Lowndes,W. Davison, Whincup, Premat, Courtney, McLaughlin, Tander, Webb, A.Davison, Ingall #V8SC

11th through 20th: R.Kelly, D’Alberto, Pye, Moffat, Slade, Wall, Holdsworth, Blanchard, Coulthard, Reynolds #V8SC

“It’s been a hell of a Christmas for all these guys at RBRA. To get out here in front of this massive crowd – it’s been a hell of a day,” Lowndes tells the circuit PA.

“I think this car suits my style a bit better than last year. You can flow the car and look after the tyres.”

“I can honestly say this is the best Car of the Future I’ve ever driven.”

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