Craig Lowndes relieved to tick off win record
Craig Lowndes has likened the feeling of breaking the all-time ATCC/V8 Supercars Championship race win record to chalking up his first victory in the class in 1996.
Lowndes equalled Mark Skaife’s tally of 90 wins in the second race of the 2013 season in Adelaide, but had to wait a further eight races to finally break the marker.
The now 38-year-old took an ATCC victory on his first appearance in the 1996 season – two years after making a promising debut as an endurance co-driver.
“It’s been on the hit list since Clipsal,” smiled Lowndes post-race.
“We failed in Tasmania and we failed in New Zealand but it’s come good here in Perth
“It’s a great feeling. It’s almost like getting winning your first victory because everyone keeps saying it can’t be that hard, just go a bit harder, a bit deeper, drive a bit faster.
“When you finally get your first victory you relax as a person and you can get on with your job.
“Knowing that it was hanging over your head for a little while… You try not to think about it but you know it’s there because it’s in the press and everything else so it’s nice to have finally done it.”
Lowndes and his Red Bull team struggled to put in competitive qualifying performances with the new-specification V8 Supercars this year, starting just three of the first nine races inside the top six.
A decision to move away from the team’s 2012 set-up mentality prior to Barbagallo triggered today’s return to the top step of the podium.
“For me we’ve really gone back to basics,” he said.
“We were trying to carry a bit of the understanding of last year’s car across, that mentality of how we set up a car and it hasn’t really worked for me.
“I think it worked alright at Clipsal, which is a street circuit, and we haven’t been on one of those since.
“We’ve gone back to basics and it’s proven to be a good thing at the moment. I’m comfortable in the car and it’s responding to everything that I want it to do.”
Team-mate Jamie Whincup still had the measure of Lowndes in the first half of the split Sixty-Sixty race, but a set-up change in the break transformed the #888 entry.
“Part of A of the race the car was good but it wasn’t great,” reflected Lowndes.
“I ended up having too much understeer towards the end and suffered a bit with that, which probably in hindsight was the better end to have problems with.
“We made a rear spring change to try and get a bit more turn in the car for Part B, which was effective.
“Right at the end my rear tyres were starting to burn up but the way it went was probably perfect.”
Two more traditional 100 km races will complete the Chill Perth 360 tomorrow.