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Lowndes wins wet race 2

Team Vodafone's Craig Lowndes continued his climb up from a poor qualifying position with victory in a sodden race two of the Jim Beam 400 at Oran Park

Lowndes made a good start, was quickly up to second and despite losing ground during the pit stops, took the lead back just after half-distance to take his third race win of the season.

After being delayed in race one, Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly was the strength of the Commodores from Clayton to finish second, just ahead of Mark Winterbottom who recovered from a lap one spin to finish less than a second behind Kelly, having stole the place from Lee Holdsworth with just a couple of corners remainining.

Jason Richards had an eventful race, looking good for the win at half-distance but fading to fifth, over 20 seconds behind Lowndes and just a few seconds ahead of a fast-finishing Steven Richards.

After finishing one-two in race one, and even getting off to a good start in race two, the Holdens of Mark Skaife and Rick Kelly struggled as did the Holdens in general. Fords filled ten of the top thirteen finishing positions, though the three Holdens were all in the top five.

Skaife had no notable dramas but finished over a minute behind Lowndes in 20th, one place behind Rick Kelly's teammate Garth Tander. Elsewhere Kelly was tapped into a spin, spun again in the early laps before recovering to take the final points with a fifteenth place finish.

However, Skaife, Tander and Rick Kelly were all beaten by Team Kiwi Racing's rookie, Shane van Gisbergen, who took his first points in just his second race with a thirteenth place finish!

At the start, Rick Kelly got the jump but he was hauled back in by Skaife before turn one. Again turn two was the site of contact as a chain reaction saw Jamie Whincup pushed into the back of Kelly, spinning Kelly from second to 29th place. Later in the lap Mark Winterbottom spins from inside the top ten to 17th as he completed lap one.

At the front Whincup was charging, taking the lead from Skaife as they completed lap one. His teammate Craig Lowndes was also on a charge after starting seventh, completing lap one in third place after passing Will Davison over the bridge and Todd Kelly at the final corner, before taking Skaife for second place between turns three and four on lap two.

Skaife was continuing to head down the order, losing third to teammate Todd Kelly as they completed lap two, and fourth place to Jason Richards three turns later, Richards then passing Kelly for third on lap five.

Most of the leaders pitted early between laps 5 and 10 of the 46-lap event, Lowndes losing out in the shuffle as Jason Richards moved ahead, both well behind Whincup however. Rick Kelly's bad day got worse as he spun exiting the final turn on lap 11. Meanwhile, Lee Holdsworth had a minor off on lap 18 losing one position.

Up at the front, the battle was closing up, Richards steadily catching Whincup. On lap 21 he dived down the inside at turn four but understeered wide as he did so. Whincup turned in and broke his steering on the back of Richards' car, retiring after limping back to the pits.

Lowndes was soon on Richards and took the lead on lap 29 as Richards began to fade. Lap 38 saw him fall from second to fourth as Todd Kelly and a charging Lee Holdsworth both swept past the Tasman driver.

Lowndes paced himself over the closing laps to win by three seconds from Todd Kelly, while Lee Holdsworth had a podium snatched from him within sight of it after Mark Winterbottom took the place from him at turn eight on the final lap.

Pos  Driver                Car
 1.  Craig Lowndes         Ford Falcon BF
 2.  Todd Kelly            Holden Commodore VE
 3.  Mark Winterbottom     Ford Falcon BF
 4.  Lee Holdsworth        Holden Commodore VE
 5.  Jason Richards        Holden Commodore VE
 6.  Steven Richards       Ford Falcon BF
 7.  James Courtney        Ford Falcon BF
 8.  Will Davison          Ford Falcon BF
 9.  Russell Ingall        Ford Falcon BF
10.  Simon Wills           Ford Falcon BF
11.  Max Wilson            Ford Falcon BF
12.  Steven Johnson        Ford Falcon BF
13.  Shane Van Gisbergen   Ford Falcon BF
14.  Fabian Coulthard      Holden Commodore VZ
15.  Rick Kelly            Holden Commodore VE
16.  Jason Bright          Ford Falcon BF
17.  Andrew Jones          Ford Falcon BF
18.  Shane Price           Holden Commodore VE
19.  Garth Tander          Holden Commodore VE
20.  Mark Skaife           Holden Commodore VE
21.  Steve Owen            Holden Commodore VZ
22.  Cameron McConville    Holden Commodore VE
23.  Dean Canto            Holden Commodore VE
24.  John Bowe             Ford Falcon BF
25.  Paul Dumbrell         Holden Commodore VE
26.  Jack Perkins          Holden Commodore VE
27.  Jason Bargwanna       Ford Falcon BF
28.  Alan Gurr             Ford Falcon BF
DNF  Paul Morris           Holden Commodore VE
DNF  Jamie Whincup         Ford Falcon BF
DNF  Greg Murphy           Holden Commodore VE

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