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Symmons Plain V8s: Craig Lowndes denies Jamie Whincup in race three

Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Holden, Symmons Plains V8 Supercars 2014

Craig Lowndes completed a hat trick of wins for Triple Eight in a fascinating third V8 Supercars race at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.

Lowndes made a perfect start from second on the grid, and was nearly one second ahead of polesitting team-mate Jamie Whincup into Turn 1.

This allowed Lowndes onto the optimal fuel strategy as teams were forced to split strategies to avoid stacking their cars in the pits during cautions.

Lowndes led through both cycles of pitstops and produced a succession of fastest laps to build up an unbeatable gap to Whincup in a perfect drive for his 39th V8 Supercars victory.

Whincup brought the second Triple Eight car home in second after running a different strategy to Lowndes, pitting early and running a long second stint.

Second place completed a fantastic weekend for the reigning champion after his double win on Saturday.

Holden Racing Team's James Courtney rounded out the podium spots as he stole third at mid-race from Scott McLaughlin in the GRM-run Polestar Volvo.

Will Davison in the Erebus Mercedes ended up fourth after a battle with a late charging Fabian Coulthard that was only decided on the last lap. Coulthard ran a long first and second stint but could not take advantage of his newer tyres.

McLaughlin showed impressive pace early on, dicing with Whincup for second until a long pitstop on lap 44 put the Kiwi into a battle for fourth. A clash with Courtney at Turn 1 put the tracking of the Volvo out of line, and left McLaughlin wondering what could have been in sixth.

Race two runner-up Mark Winterbottom sneaked into the top 10 in ninth after a long first pitstop allowed the Ford Performance Racing Driver to take less fuel at the last stop and jump places from his 13th starting spot.

Results - 84 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                    Time/Gap
 1.  Craig Lowndes        Triple Eight Holden    1h15m08.3240s
 2.  Jamie Whincup        Triple Eight Holden         +5.3910s
 3.  James Courtney       HRT Holden                 +10.0950s
 4.  Will Davison         Erebus Mercedes            +13.0283s
 5.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden          +13.1526s
 6.  Scott McLaughlin     GRM Volvo                  +17.4855s
 7.  Shane van Gisbergen  Tekno Holden               +18.2185s
 8.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/HRT Holden       +18.5269s
 9.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                   +18.9026s
10.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford          +19.9221s
11.  Russell Ingall       Dumbrell Holden            +21.4529s
12.  Lee Holdsworth       Erebus Mercedes            +28.2436s
13.  David Wall           Dick Johnson Ford          +29.1083s
14.  Chaz Mostert         FPR Ford                   +31.7184s
15.  Nick Percat          Walkinshaw/HRT Holden      +33.5337s
16.  Scott Pye            Dick Johnson Ford          +36.8697s
17.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden          +39.2701s
18.  Jack Perkins         Schwerkolt/FPR Ford        +48.3023s
19.  Michael Caruso       Nissan                        +1 lap
20.  Rick Kelly           Nissan                        +1 lap
21.  Todd Kelly           Nissan                        +1 lap
22.  James Moffat         Nissan                        +1 lap
23.  Robert Dahlgren      GRM Volvo                     +1 lap
24.  Dale Wood            Britek/BJR Holden             +1 lap
25.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden                  +10 laps
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Whincup wins after hitting Lowndes