Lucky 13 for Lowndes
CRAIG Lowndes has been desperately unlucky in this year's V8 Supercars Championship.
But race No. 13 of the championship at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway yesterday finally signalled a change of fortunes for the Commodore driver who got past teammate Jamie Whincup in the dying stages to take the chequered flag.
It was the 83rd V8 Supercars championship race win for Lowndes, and followed the latest in a string of unfortunate events on Saturday when he started from the rear of the grid due to suspension issues in qualifying before coming a creditable fourth in race 12.
After yesterday's win he praised the three-leg tyre strategy used by his engineer Jeromy Moore.
"I was thankful at the end that the car looked after its tyres. At the end of the middle leg it felt like it was on the canvas, but that last set was great," Lowndes said.
After starting from sixth yesterday, Lowndes signalled his intention by setting the fastest time of the day on lap 50.
A three-time winner on the circuit, the 37-year-old had come out of his last pit stop on lap 47 in fourth place, but was leaving nothing in the tank and went past Michael Caruso into third place on lap 55.
Lowndes then had Mark Winterbottom in his sights and swept past the No 2 Ford man just four laps later.
That left only Saturday's race winner and Team Vodafone teammate Whincup between Lowndes and top spot on the podium.
With almost 30,000 fans trackside on their feet, Lowndes was lapping almost a full second faster than Whincup and a successful challenge seemed inevitable.
It eventually came with three laps left.
It gave Lowndes, who turns 38 on Thursday, an early birthday present, and Team Vodafone its first 1-2 finish in the Top End.
Whincup assumed the lead after taking out Saturday's race 12.
The next round will be in Townsville from July 6-8.
Overall standings: 1: Jamie Whincup 1494 points, 2: Will Davison 1456, 3: Mark Winterbottom 1445, 4: Craig Lowndes 1247, 5: Shane van Gisbergen 1145, 6: Lee Holdsworth 1079, 7: Lee Slade 1059, 8: Garth Tander 990, 9: Fabian Coulthard 910, 10: Jason Bright 804.