Lowndes maintains pressure with Race 33 win

Craig Lowndes

Craig Lowndes

Craig Lowndes continued to chip away at Mark Winterbottom’s V8 Supercars Championship lead with victory in Race 33 at Phillip Island.

Lowndes led home Scott McLaughlin after overcoming a poor start in the 200km race, while Jamie Whincup took the final podium spot from Mark Winterbottom with a bold move on the final lap.

Whincup’s dive-bomb at MG Corner saw the two cars make minor contact at the apex, with the Holden driver having put two wheels in the grass under brakes as he fought to make a gap.

The result leaves Winterbottom 179 points ahead of Lowndes going into next month’s season ending Coates Hire Sydney 500.

Winterbottom had enjoyed the best of the starts to show the way early from McLaughlin, Whincup and Lowndes, who lost ground with a slow getaway from the outside of the front-row.

Whincup made the first of his two stops on the opening lap and, unable to match the pace of his team-mate in the first two stints, did not figure in the top three again until the final corners.

Winterbottom lost the lead to McLaughlin in the first round of stops, before also dropping behind Lowndes in the second pit cycle.

McLaughlin rejoined from his own final stop narrowly ahead of Lowndes with 23 of the 45 laps to go, but could not hold the charging Red Bull Commodore at bay on the run to Turn 1.

Lowndes eased away to win by 2s, ensuring McLaughlin and Volvo again failed to break their year-long victory drought.

Whincup and Winterbottom were a full 12s away from the lead at the flag, with the latter left to shrug off the late loss of potentially important points.

Todd and Rick Kelly ended up fifth and sixth respectively on a day where the Nissan Altimas proved highly competitive.

Michael Caruso appeared set to beat the two team co-owners before a drive-through for spinning wheels in his second stop resigned him to a lowly 22nd place finish.

Shane van Gisbergen led home the third of the Nissans, James Moffat, in seventh while Garth Tander and David Reynolds completed the top 10.

The opening lap had proved the most hectic of the weekend, with several separate incidents unfolding.

Lee Holdsworth was taken out in a multi-car melee at Turn 2 that also saw Dale Wood’s Holden damaged and James Courtney delayed.

Cameron Waters then suffered a flat-tyre from a wild battle at the Hayshed with Rick Kelly, who did well to save his Nissan after a bump while on the outisde of the Ford through the corner.

Jason Bright narrowly escaped the drama but saw his race unravel a short time later when he was released into the path of Scott Pye in pitlane, netting a drive-through penalty.

Pye likewise survived that hit but made a mistake of his own at Lukey Heights early in his second stint, costing any chance of a top six finish.

Result: V8 Supercars WD-40 Phillip Island Super Sprint Race 33

1 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 45 01:12:25.3711
2 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 45 01:12:27.3411
3 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 45 01:12:37.9825
4 Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 45 01:12:38.2642
5 Nissan Motorsport Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 45 01:12:54.0574
6 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 45 01:12:54.9029
7 Team Darrell Lea STIX Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 45 01:12:55.7602
8 Nissan Motorsport James Moffat Nissan Altima 45 01:12:56.4078
9 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:04.8285
10 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG/X 45 01:13:05.2100
11 Freightliner Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:09.6269
12 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison Mercedes E63 AMG 45 01:13:10.1523
13 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:11.6834
14 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 45 01:13:12.9646
15 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall Volvo S60 45 01:13:22.3176
16 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:24.6250
17 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:25.8441
18 Erebus Motorsport V8 Dean Canto Mercedes E63 AMG 45 01:13:29.5482
19 Super Black Racing Chris Pither Ford Falcon FG/X 45 01:13:30.6851
20 Pepsi Max Crew Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 45 01:13:31.1320
21 Repair Management Aust Racing Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VF 45 01:13:36.3542
22 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 45 01:13:51.9071
23 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 44 01:12:30.8173
24 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 43 01:12:36.2096
DNF Walkinshaw Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF

Championship Standings 

1 Mark Winterbottom 3007
2 Craig Lowndes 2828
3 David Reynolds 2688
4 Garth Tander 2459
5 Shane van Gisbergen 2442
6 Fabian Coulthard 2394
7 Jamie Whincup 2359
8 Scott McLaughlin 2057
9 Chaz Mostert 2017
10 James Courtney 1946
11 Rick Kelly 1932
12 Michael Caruso 1744
13 Tim Slade 1691
14 James Moffat 1570
15 Will Davison 1552
16 Jason Bright 1544
17 Lee Holdsworth 1539
18 Todd Kelly 1534
19 Scott Pye 1435
20 Dale Wood 1219
21 Nick Percat 1204
22 Tim Blanchard 1173
23 Andre Heimgartner 1068
24 David Wall 1016
25 Ash Walsh 769
26 Warren Luff 747
27 Dean Canto 733
28 Jonathon Webb 699
29 Jack Perkins 693
30 Steve Owen 684
31 Steven Richards 681
32 Cameron Waters 595
33 Luke Youlden 516
34 David Russell 492
35 Alex Premat 492
36 Tony D’Alberto 462
37 Sebastien Bourdais 423
38 Taz Douglas 416
39 Russell Ingall 414
40 Paul Dumbrell 410
41 Dean Fiore 399
42 Marcos Ambrose 395
43 Andrew Jones 345
44 Macauley Jones 327
45 Alex Davison 327
46 Karl Reindler 288
47 Alex Buncombe 276
48 Oliver Gavin 258
49 Chris Pither 221
50 Ant Pedersen 185
51 Jack Le Brocq 144
52 Aaren Russell 108
53 Drew Russell 108
54 Simona de Silvestro 84
55 Renee Gracie 84

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