Late spin proves costly for Craig Lowndes
A late spin in Race 28 proved costly for Craig Lowndes as he dropped behind Scott McLaughlin in the battle for third in the Supercars Championship.
The Triple Eight driver fell from sixth to eighth with three of the 74 laps remaining due to a spin at Turn 6.
Caused by rapidly degrading rear tyres, Lowndes’ mistake saw him fall nine points adrift of Garry Rogers Motorsport driver McLaughlin, who finished fourth.
Lowndes headed into the weekend with a 21 point margin over the Volvo driver in a hotly contested battle for third in the standings that could give Triple Eight an historic trifecta.
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The race had started well for Lowndes having headed McLaughlin before the first round of pitstops.
However, McLaughlin’s team executed a perfect undercut to come out ahead of the three-time champion, an advantage he kept after the final stops.
Lowndes also felt an unusually slow second pitstop added to his problems during the race.
“It was a bit disappointing as we were having a great battle with Scott (McLaughlin) and after the restart we had good pace and we put pressure on him,” Lowndes told Speedcafe.com.
“Unfortunately for us with three laps to go I had a spin at Turn 6. The rear tyres were gone and that allowed Rick (Kelly) and Will (Davison) past.
“Now we have got a nine point deficit which we have got to try and make up tomorrow.
“If we had track position we could have had enough pace to stay in front of Scott, but it wasn’t to be after the first round of stops.
“He got us into Turn 1 and we should have come out of the second stop at least one second in front of him but we didn’t.
“We will work out why we didn’t and what went on in the stop. The second stop felt a lot longer than it should have been and it is something we will analyse.
“It doesn’t matter, we had a great battle wth Scott and he is pushing hard and I’m pushing hard.”
Although disappointed to lose ground in the battle for third, Lowndes is determined to fight back and deliver Triple Eight an unprecedented trifecta in the championship in Sunday’s 74 lap finale.
“For Roland (Dane, Triple Eight boss) the first thing was winning the championship and Shane (van Gisbergen) was able to do that which is a huge tick in the box,” he added.
“Now we have the 1-2 done we have got to get the 1-2-3.
“It will be a proud moment for Roland having expanded to three cars.
“We have got to work hard to make that achievable but even a 1-2-4 for the first year as a three car team is impressive.
“I’m ready to fight for that third place.”