James Courtney has continued his domination of the last two rounds of the V8 Supercars Championship by winning his fourth race on the trot, after taking victory at yesterday’s opening race at Victoria’s Winton Raceway.
Courtney vaulted from sixth to third in the opening 10 laps of the race, and took second place from Lowndes on lap 20. However, he pitted a little too late relative to his rivals, and emerged from the pits behind Lowndes and Lee Holdsworth, leaving him with it all to do once again.
He quickly dispatched of Holdsworth, but was running in second behind Lowndes as the lap counter ticked on.
With time running out to make his move, Courtney attempted to pass the leader on lap 53, but sent Lowndes momentarily off the circuit. Just four laps later, his passing attempt was cleaner, and he opened up a lead of over six seconds in the remaining 8 laps of the race as if to emphasise his considerable pace.
Lowndes and Holdsworth completed the rostrum for Race 2, with the latter using an early pit stop and a mid-race Safety Car intervention to vault him 10 places higher than his original starting position.
Pole-sitter Rick Kelly finished fourth, after being unable to maintain a front-running pace in the race’s opening laps.
The early race leader was Jamie Whincup, who gambled on running a long opening stint and pitting late in the race, in the hope that a lightning pit stop would see him retain track position ahead of his rivals.
But the Safety Car interruption scuppered his chances, and fighting to regain positions, he flew off-track at Turn 4 and lost two laps as the cranes recovered him back to the circuit. A distant 24th-placed finish was hardly what he needed, and he duly lost his championship lead to the resurgent Courtney.
Having held a 204-point lead over Courtney before the previous round at Queensland Raceway, Courtney’s four consecutive wins has seen Whincup’s championship lead erased, and he now has a 114-point deficit to the new championship leader.
Race 2 Final Classification: