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Sydney V8 Supercars: Craig Lowndes wins wild race one

Craig Lowndes wins in SydneyCraig 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


     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
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