LOWNDES STEERS HOLDEN TO BATHURST 1000 VICTORY
Craig Lowndes has won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 for the last time as a main-game driver in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
He and co-driver Steve Richards, along with the entire Autobarn Lowndes Racing crew, put in a faultless 161 laps to conquer Mount Panorama in one of the most emotion-fuelled Bathurst 1000 victories ever, to raise the Peter Brock trophy once more.
Lowndes’ 2018 win behind the wheel of the ZB Commodore Supercar pushes his victory tally at the Great Race to seven, the equal most with Jim Richards, apart from the late, great Peter Brock, who holds the record with 9 Bathurst 1000 wins.
“That last lap, I’ve never had such a gap to enjoy across the top of the mountain like that, to enjoy what we just achieved,” Lowndes said.
“It was good to have that last lap and that seven second gap ahead of Scotty [Pye] and just really enjoy it.”
Lowndes has now conquered the mountain six out of his last thirteen visits, with he and Richards now tasting success twice as a pairing.
“We don’t have a bad record here at all, we have won two out the last five, it’s been a great partnership. Once we got the lead, of course I was never going to give it up and the last 20 laps, since the last stop, we just tried to keep that gap and it worked out perfectly,” Lowndes added.
In what was a stellar day for the Holden Commodore, Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing’s Scott Pye and Warren Luff powered their Supercar home in style to claim the second place trophy.
“I was a kid once, I was going for Lowndesy so to be standing up there next to him on the podium, it’s a hard feeling to describe,” Pye said.
“The team did a fantastic job today, we didn’t quite have the pace for Lowndesy but two in a row we’ve come second now, surely the next one has to be ours, third time lucky!”
For the Red Bull Holden Racing Team it was a mixed Bathurst 1000 but one of great perseverance with Shane van Gisbergen/Earl Bamber finishing fifth and Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell in tenth.
Disaster struck on Lap 40 for the #1 car with a front-right tyre parting ways with the car, which put the Red Bull Holden down two laps.
Despite the huge gap to the leaders both Whincup and Dumbrell pressed on and by Lap 94 were back on the lead lap to eventually finish the 2018 version of the Great Race with a top-10 result.
Both Wilson Security GRM Commodores of Garth Tander/Chris Pither [6th] and Rookie James Golding alongside Richard Muscat [8th] put in superb drives to secure a double top-10 result for the team.
Another Holden team with a solid weekend was Brad Jones Racing with Nick Percat and Macauley Jones powering their Repco Authorised Service Team Commodore to a seventh place result.
The upset of Mount Panorama saw David Reynolds backing up his Bathurst win of last year, to win the Top-10 Shootout and claim pole for the race.
Unfortunately for Reynolds and co-driver Luke Youlden disaster struck when Reynolds was come down with cramps inside the cockpit, which saw the pair slip down the field with an unscheduled driver change late in the race, after leading the Bathurst 1000 the majority of the race.
Over 206,000 screaming fans flocked to the mountain to enjoy what was one of the truly memorable Bathurst 1000 races while fans at home were treated to a Supercars first with the entire race broadcast in 4K on the Fox Sports network.
Round 14 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship takes crews to the Gold Coast 600 for the final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup on Oct 19-21.