Sydney V8 Supercars: Craig Lowndes wins wild race one
|Saturday, December 1st 2012, 08:18 GMT|
Craig Lowndes denied Tim Slade victory in a wild first V8 Supercars race around Sydney's Homebush street track.
Amid extreme heat, multiple safety cars and plenty of incident, the event turned into a fuel economy run at the finish, with all the leaders nursing their cars to the flag.
Lowndes and Triple 8 team-mate Jamie Whincup had made rapid progress up the order from their 16th and 14th places on the grid.
When their final pitstops took place behind the safety car on lap 45 of 74, Whincup pulled over into a neutral area in the pitlane to allow Lowndes through to take his stop first. While Whincup has already secured the 2012 title, Lowndes is still in a close fight with Mark Winterbottom for the runner-up spot.
That put Lowndes in prime position to challenge polesitter Slade for the win, and he made it through on lap 62 when Slade made a small error.
Slade was able to retain second, winning a late battle with James Courtney as the former champion had to back off dramatically to save fuel.
Having volunteered to queue behind Lowndes in the pits, Whincup came home fifth behind Jonathon Webb, who came from 24th on the grid to fourth.
Winterbottom tried a slightly different strategy as he recovered from 25th on the grid and could only finish ninth, leaving him three points behind Lowndes going into Sunday's season finale.
Incidents included Shane van Gisbergen retiring after contact with both Tony d'Alberto and the series' medical car on lap one, and second-row starters Steven Johnson and Alexandre Premat retiring with electrical issues and heat exhaustion respectively.
Results - 74 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden 2h03m49.6940s 2. Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford + 1.1047s 3. James Courtney HRT Holden + 24.5102s 4. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden + 30.4085s 5. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden + 30.9924s 6. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden + 33.2667s 7. Karl Reindler Kelly Holden + 36.2908s 8. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford + 41.9176s 9. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 44.6989s 10. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden + 52.4691s 11. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Ford + 1m00.6046s 12. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden + 1m14.0904s 13. Steve Owen Paul Morris/DJR Ford + 1m28.4707s 14. Tim Blanchard Kelly Holden + 1m30.5640s 15. Dean Fiore Triple F/DJR Ford + 1 lap 16. Michael Patrizi Tekno Holden + 1 lap 17. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 5 laps 18. Taz Douglas Dumbrell Holden + 6 laps 19. Will Davison FPR Ford + 9 laps 20. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden + 15 laps 21. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 16 laps Retirements: Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden 59 laps Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden 43 laps Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden 26 laps Greg Murphy Kelly Holden 18 laps Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford 5 laps Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford 0 laps Lee Holdsworth Stone Brothers Ford 0 laps