Bathurst 1000: Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards win for Triple Eight

Craig Lowndes is now a seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner, while Steve Richards has five to his name, after the veterans combined to take a dramatic victory in Supercars' premier event

Bathurst 1000: Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards win for Triple Eight

The Lowndes/Richards Triple Eight Holden only took over the lead for the first time with under 30 laps to go, Lowndes having hunted down long-time leader David Reynolds who was struggling with leg cramps.

To that point Reynolds and Luke Youlden looked to be set for a second straight Bathurst win, only for the cramps to not only let Lowndes into the lead, but result in a pitlane penalty when Reynolds couldn't keep his foot on the clutch during a stop.

Reynolds ended up needing to pit again and hand over to Youlden, their #9 Erebus Holden ending up down in 14th.

That all paved the way for Lowndes and Richards to take a fairytale win, in what will be their last appearance together before Lowndes retires from full-time competition.

The veterans came home 6.2 seconds clear of Scott Pye/Warren Luff and Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Premat.

Reynolds and Youlden combined to control the opening five stints of the race, the car in the effective lead for all but a handful of laps.

On lap 93 of the 161 the race was given a reset when Bryce Fullwood beached the MSR Holden at the final turn, the safety car being called on the very lap that the majority of the co-drivers ticked over the magic minimum requirement number.

Reynolds was in no danger of losing his lead while taking over from Youlden, but it did mean the pair's track advantage was lost as the rest of the field, led by Lowndes, closed in during the caution.

Lowndes and Richards had hung around the top group all morning, the only hiccup being when Richards ran wide trying to get into the pits at the end of the third stint. Lowndes recovered sharply once in the car, getting the car back into the game by the time the critical caution rolled around.

When the race restarted on lap 97, Reynolds and Lowndes took off out front. The pair spent the first 10 laps separated by less than a second, Reynolds needing to break his own lap record to ease away.

Reynolds maintained his stranglehold for the majority of the seventh stint, keeping Lowndes at arm's length.

But with 27 laps to go, the advantage disappeared and Lowndes charged into the lead a lap later.

Reynolds radioed in to say he was struggling with cramping in his legs, with Lowndes streaking away out front as Erebus weighed up whether to pit Reynolds and stick Youlden back in the car.

Reynolds opted to push on, but didn't have the strength to keep the clutch in during his stop 21 laps from the finish. That meant his rear wheels spun before the car hit the deck, resulting in a drivethrough penalty.

He then pitted to hand over to Youlden, and cut a distraught figure in the Erebus garage afterwards.

Chaz Mostert, Pye and Shane van Gisbergen had engaged in a scrappy battle over third in the second half of the race as Reynolds and Lowndes led.

McLaughlin started to work his way into the game as the sixth stint wore on too, a free pass on DJR Penske team-mate Fabian Coulthard on lap 112 leaving him sitting right behind van Gisbergen.

Mostert, Pye and McLaughlin all ended up fighting over the same bit of road after the penultimate stops - with Mostert dropping to fifth, McLaughlin moving up to fourth, and Pye reclaiming third before benefiting from Reynolds' agony.

Pye and Luff repeated their 2017 effort with second place after a clean second half of the race, followed by McLaughlin and Premat.

Mostert and James Moffat's fourth place finish was a remarkable result given he was involved in a bizarre clash with Tickford team-mate David Russell early in the second stint.

Mostert brushed the inside wall at Forest's Elbow while trying to pass Russell, which fired him into the side of the #6 Falcon.

He escaped mostly unscathed, while Russell and primary driver Cam Waters were left with a bent car that took 13 laps to repair.

Waters wasn't pleased about it either, overheard by TV cameras shouting "sorry man, we just got fucked up by our fucking team-mate".

Points leader van Gisbergen and co-driver Earl Bamber came home fifth, with van Gisbergen now holding a 19-point margin over McLaughlin.

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell's poor run of Bathurst luck continued, a bizarre right-front wheel departure ending their hopes of a result.

The #1 Red Bull Holden was starting to shape up as a real contender, too, Dumbrell sitting a close second when the wheel took off on the run to the first corner on lap 45.

After limping home on three wheels, the Triple Eight crew crucially got the car back out just a single lap down.

Thanks to the lap 94 safety car, Whincup was back on the lead lap - 47s off the lead - with 64 laps to go.

The pace wasn't quite there to stage a miracle comeback, although Whincup was able to charge his way to 10th.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 C.Lowndes, S.Richards Triple Eight Holden 161 6h01m44.8637s
2 S.Pye, W.Luff Walkinshaw Holden 161 6.2920s
3 S.McLaughlin, A.Premat DJR Penske Ford 161 9.4081s
4 C.Mostert, J.Moffat Tickford Ford 161 10.2530s
5 S.Gisbergen, E.Bamber Triple Eight Holden 161 27.4209s
6 G.Tander, C.Pither GRM Holden 161 30.0098s
7 N.Percat, M.Jones Brad Jones Holden 161 36.5424s
8 J.Golding, R.Muscat GRM Holden 161 37.2325s
9 F.Coulthard, T.D'Alberto DJR Penske Ford 161 47.1120s
10 J.Whincup, P.Dumbrell Triple Eight Holden 161 56.4334s
11 R.Kelly, G.Jacobson Nissan Motorsport Nissan 161 1m19.0739s
12 M.Winterbottom, D.Canto Tickford Ford 161 1m35.0093s
13 D.Reynolds, L.Youlden Erebus Holden 161 1m39.1046s
14 S.de Silvestro, A.Rullo Nissan Motorsport Nissan 161 1m47.7762s
15 J.Le Brocq, J.Webb Tekno Holden 161 1m52.3973s
16 A.Heimgartner, A.Russell Nissan Motorsport Nissan 161 1m54.8234s
17 T.Slade, A.Walsh Brad Jones Holden 160 1 Lap
18 T.Blanchard, D.Wood Blanchard/BJR Holden 159 2 Laps
19 W.Davison, A.Davison 23Red Racing Ford 159 2 Laps
20 T.Hazelwood, B.Fullwood Matt Stone Holden/Ford 159 2 Laps
21 L.Holdsworth, J.Bright Team 18 Holden 157 4 Laps
22 R.Stanaway, S.Owen Tickford Ford 152 9 Laps
23 C.Waters, D.Russell Tickford Ford 148 13 Laps
24 A.De Pasquale, W.Brown Erebus Holden 143 18 Laps
- M.Caruso, D.Fiore Nissan Motorsport Nissan 69 Retirement
- J.Courtney, J.Perkins Walkinshaw Holden 33 Retirement


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Series Supercars
Drivers Craig Lowndes
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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