Lowndes and Skaife led home an emphatic Team Vodafone 1-2 at Phillip Island

Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife have claimed back-to-back L&H 500 Phillip Island victories after the pair led home a Team Vodafone Holden 1-2 in the V8 Supercars Championship’s first endurance race of the season.

The pair’s victory was assured courtesy of a slow puncture suffered by Stone Brother’s Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen, who was closing rapidly in his Ford, which was particularly gentle on its tyres in race trim.

Van Gisbergen’s demise was to the benefit of the second Team Vodafone entry of series leader Jamie Whincup and co-driver Andrew Thompson. The pair had driven consummately: leading in the middle phase of the race only to lose valuable time in two separate pit stops.

The first came in the Thompson/Whincup driver change when Thompson couldn’t get out of the car when his driver’s side door became stuck, and the second delay came during the race’s only safety car period when Whincup was forced to queue in the pit bay behind Lowndes, who had also pitted.

Whincup passed van Gisbergen on the final lap of the race, as the hapless Kiwi fell to fifth at the chequered flag.

Third place when to the day’s polesitters, Will Davison and Luke Youlden in the FPR Ford, who led the race off the line, but didn’t quite have the pace of the Team Vodafone entries when it counted.

The race start was itself delayed by their fellow front-row starter, when HRT co-driver Nick Percat (co-driver to Garth Tander) stalled on the dummy grid when it wouldn’t disengage gear. Percat was forced to start from pit lane, but he and Tander produced a sensational drive through the field.

With thirty laps to go, Tander had incredibly fought his way up to being able to battle with Lowndes for the race lead. At the final restart, the pair staged a thrilling side-by-side battle that was eventually resolved in Lowndes’ favour as Tander’s tyres began to fade and he dropped a few placed. He finished fourth at the end, snatching the place from van Gisbergen in the final inches before the finish line.

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V8 Supercars L&H 500 Final Classification (113 laps):

Driver / Co-Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Craig Lowndes / Mark Skaife Holden Triple 8 Racing 3:08:13.2041
2. Jamie Whincup / Andrew Thompson Holden Triple 8 Racing + 6.3205
3. Will Davison / Luke Youlden Ford Ford Performance Racing + 9.2131
4. Garth Tander / Nick Percat Holden Holden Racing Team + 15.6235
5. Shane van Gisbergen / John McIntyre Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 15.6250
6. David Reynolds / Tim Blanchard Holden Kelly Racing + 19.5440
7. Jason Bright / Andrew Jones Holden Brad Jones Racing + 27.3750
8. Rick Kelly / Owen Kelly Holden Kelly Racing + 32.3485
9. James Courtney / Cameron McConville Holden Holden Racing Team + 34.6131
10. Fabian Coulthard / Craig Baird Holden Walkinshaw Racing + 40.9545
11. Jason Bargwanna / Shane Price Holden Brad Jones Racing + 49.6775
12. Lee Holdsworth / Greg Ritter Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport + 52.2947
13. Greg Murphy / Allan Simonsen Holden Kelly Racing + 1:02.6083
14. Todd Kelly / David Russell Holden Kelly Racing + 1:07.3800
15. Steve Owen / Paul Morris Holden Paul Morris Motorsport + 1:07.5959
16. Michael Caruso / Marcus Marshall Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport + 1:14.1465
17. Mark Winterbottom / Steve Richards Ford Ford Performance Racing + 1:17.6851
18. Jonathan Webb / Richard Lyons Ford Tekno Autosport + 1:19.6768
19. Dean Fiore / Michael Patrizi Ford Triple F Racing + 1:22.0884
20. Russell Ingall / Jack Perkins Holden Paul Morris Motorsport + 1:24.5901
21. Dale Wood / Taz Douglas Ford Tony D’Alberto Racing + 1:24.7762
22. Alex Davison / David Brabham Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 1:27.7304
23. Paul Dumbrell / Dean Canto Ford Rod Nash Racing + 1:30.2555
24. Tim Slade / Daniel Gaunt Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 1:30.4833
25. James Moffat / Matt Halliday Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 1:33.2940
26. Steven Johnson / David Besnard Ford Dick Johnson Racing 1 lap behind
27. Warren Luff / Nathan Pretty Holden Lucas Dumbrell 2 laps behind
28. Karl Reindler / David Wall Holden Brad Jones Racing 13 laps behind

[Image and video via V8 Supercars]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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