Lowndes and Richards claim the ZB Commodore’s first Pirtek Enduro Cup
Craig Lowndes and co-driver Steve Richards have claimed the Pirtek Endurance Cup for the first time as a pairing after a phenomenal display over the 2018 Supercars endurance season.
Lowndes, Richards and the entire Autobarn Lowndes Racing Team produced a superb performance to finish second in the opening 300km race at the Gold Coast 600.
Unfortunately, due to severe weather Race 2 on Sunday was cancelled and declared a non-result.
“What a weekend, yesterday we qualified poor and stormed back through the field to finish second, and today we qualified well but then the storm came!’ Lowndes said.
“It’s been a hell of a run and you know, this was my last race with Richo and it’s really special to be able to take the Pirtek Enduro Cup back to the workshop and with our names on it, and for this man next to me [Engineer, Irish] who’s worked pretty hard this year to give us an amazing car, to do what we do.”
Co-driver Richards was ecstatic to be able to claim the cup in his last role co-driving with great mate Lowndes.
“It’s been an incredible last three races and right from the outset when I drove this car I couldn’t believe how good it was, so the boys have done a great job all campaign and here we are,” Richards said.
“This is the one trophy [Pirtek Enduro Cup] I was hoping to get hold of before we finished driving together and we got it, so it’s great!”
Starting from 21st on the grid after a qualifying mistake on Saturday, the crew changed strategy and threw Lowndes in to start the race with the veteran carving up the co-drivers in his opening stint and finishing the race strong after Richards put in a faultless middle stint for the #888 Commodore.
In his 400th race start, James Courtney powered his Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing to third with co-driver Jack Perkins on Saturday.
Running on near fumes on the final lap Courtney was able to hold out a fast charging David Reynolds who would eventually finish fourth in his Penrite Erebus Commodore.
“The fuel alarm came on just as we finished and came into the pit lane but our thing [car] is amazing on economy and the guys back in the workshop have just done such an amazing job so we could pit a bit earlier, get track position and just try and hang on, which we did,” Courtney said.
The two Red Bull Holden Racing Commodores had a race to forget after both receiving pitlane drive-through penalties due to unsafe pit lane releases in the opening set of stops.
But in true fighting spirit, we’ve come accustomed to seeing from the team, both cars fought back hard to see Shane van Gisbergen and Earl Bamber bring the #97 home in 10th with Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell in 14th.
The next stop on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship takes crews to the penultimate round in New Zealand for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Nov 2-4.