Craig Lowndes recovered from a poor start to win Sunday's opening race at Phillip Island

Craig Lowndes has trimmed teammate Jamie Whincup’s championship lead to just six points after claiming victory in Sunday’s opening race at Phillip Island.

The Red Bull Australia recovered from an early mistake in the race and took full advantage of a safety car interruption to overtake race leader Whincup after the restart.

After a troubled outing in Saturday’s Supersprint race, Lowndes lined up eighth for today’s opening 100-kilometre race, while Whincup started from the second row behind the Brad Jones Racing pairing of Fabian Coulthard and Jason Bright.

Coulthard and Bright both made poor getaways at the start, while Whincup was able to thread his way into the lead, with a fast-starting Lowndes hot on his heels at the end of a wild opening lap.

But Lowndes had to fight his way back up a few places again after a mistake saw him run wide while battling with Chaz Mostert.

Lowndes quickly managed to repass Coulthard, Shane van Gisbergen and Mostert, but his earlier mistake had meant Whincup was out of reach in the lead.

But that all changed when the safety car was called so marshals could safely retrieve Michael Caruso’s Nissan, which had retired with a misfire.

With the field compressed, Lowndes took full advantage of the restart to overtake Whincup for the lead at the Turn 4 hairpin, pulling clear of his teammate in the closing laps to claim a record-equalling ninth race win at Phillip Island.

Van Gisbergen managed to overhaul Mostert to round out the final spot on the podium, leading a long train comprising Coulthard, Alex Davison, Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison.

Winterbottom had lost ground in a wild rush to Turn 1, getting bundled off the racing line in a five-wide jostle for position. A seventh-placed finish put him over 100 points adrift of the leading Red Bull Racing teammates at the head of the Drivers’ Championship fight, and he’ll need to claim maximum points in today’s second race if he wants to keep his title hopes alive heading into next fornight’s Sydney finale.

2013 V8 Supercars Phillip Island 360 – Race 2 Final Classification (23 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Craig Lowndes Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering 38:02.553
2. Jamie Whincup Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 3.554
3. Shane van Gisbergen Holden VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports + 8.819
4. Chaz Mostert Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 8.540
5. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 9.079
6. Alex Davison Ford Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 9.258
7. Mark Winterbottom Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 9.805
8. Will Davison Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 10.037
9. David Reynolds Ford Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 12.151
10. Garth Tander Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 12.339
11. Scott Pye Holden EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 13.339
12. Tim Blanchard Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 13.628
13. Rick Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 14.080
14. David Wall Holden Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 14.474
15. Russell Ingall Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR + 16.355
16. Todd Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 16.793
17. Lee Holdsworth AMG IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 17.206
18. Jonathon Webb Holden Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports + 17.507
19. Scott McLaughlin Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 17.751
20. Dean Fiore Holden Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 18.201
21. James Moffat Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 19.222
22. Maro Engel AMG SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 20.708
23. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing + 24.391
24. Tim Slade AMG Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 1:05.010
  Not Classified      
DNF. Tony D’Alberto Holden HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing 16 laps
DNF. Michael Caruso Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport 12 laps
WD. James Courtney Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR Withdrawn
WD. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport Withdrawn

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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.