Craig Lowndes has capped off a perfect weekend at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300, after claiming a clean sweep of pole positions and race wins at Queensland Raceway today.
The Triple 8 Holden driver won both of yesterday’s sprint races, and then cleaned up in today’s longer race to make a significant dent in the championship lead of team-mate Jamie Whincup, who had a difficult race.
Starting from the front row alongside Lowndes, Whincup appeared to stall as the field left the grid for the warm-up lap. He pitted his faltering Holden at the end of the parade lap, to find that one of his mechanics had accidentally left an air intake cover on the car. To add to his troubles of starting last and well down on the field, he then had to serve a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
To his credit, Whincup drove a sterling race to finish an impressive tenth, despite a final-lap collision with Rick Kelly.
Up at the front, Lowndes had the start all to himself and took an early lead en route to his 80th career victory, although he was shadowed race long by the ever-improving Tim Slade, who continued his red hot form to claim a hat-trick of podiums in his Stone Brothers Racing Ford.
Team-mate Shane van Gisbergen finished a distant third, fending off a late race charge from V8 Supercars rookie James Moffat, who in turn claimed his career-best finish with an outstanding run to fourth place.
David Reynolds backed his impressive qualifying form to finish in fifth place, although he could have been a contender for the final podium spot but for being knocked into a spin after his first pit stop.
Sixth place went to a hard-charging Garth Tander, who overcame more qualifying woes in his factory Holden to surge through the field from a lowly 19th on the grid.
Fabian Coulthard, Alex Davison, Steven Johnson and Whincup completed the top ten.
With Lowndes claiming the maximum 300 championship points available this weekend, Whincup’s championship lead has been trimmed to 98 points over his team-mate.
The V8 Supercar Championship Series heads into a sequence of endurance races, with the L&H 500 Phillip Island next month.
V8 Supercars Coates Hire Ipswich 300 Final Classification (Race 3 – 65 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||1:19:06.166|
|2.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 1.074|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 33.955|
|4.||James Moffat||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 35.437|
|5.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing||+ 42.717|
|6.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 46.397|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg / Walkinsaw Racing||+ 46.895|
|8.||Alex Davison||Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 48.053|
|9.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 51.395|
|10.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||+ 56.678|
|11.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 57.011|
|12.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 57.627|
|13.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 59.768|
|14.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 59.856|
|15.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 1:00.056|
|16.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing||+ 1:03.857|
|17.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 1:07.289|
|18.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 1:08.663|
|19.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1:12.144|
|20.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 1:12.807|
|21.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||1 lap behind|
|22.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno||1 lap behind|
|23.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing / Lucas Dumbrell||1 lap behind|
|24.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||1 lap behind|
|25.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||1 lap behind|
|26.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living / Brad Jones Racing||1 lap behind|
|27.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport||2 laps behind|
|28.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||12 laps behind|
[Image and video via V8 Supercars]
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