Three-time V8 Supercar Champion Craig Lowndes has taken his first race victory of the 2012 season at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway today, leading home teammate Jamie Whincup to give TeamVodafone a 1-2 finish.
Compromising a decent qualifying position to save tyres for today’s 69 lap race, Lowndes started from sixth on the grid. The #888 Holden driver went against the grain, opting to stay on track during an early safety car period while the majority of the field pitted.
Lowndes saved his set of green soft compound tyres for his second pitstop on Lap 47, a strategy which paid off handsomely, with the Holden driver easily progressing up the order.
Lowndes moved past teammate Whincup to secure his 83rd career race victory, 15 years after he won the first race here at Hidden Valley Raceway.
“It’s amazing – we’ve been working real hard. We’ve had good pace but it hasn’t resulted in any results. I’ve had a couple of poles but every time I’ve had one I’ve gone backwards!
“JJ (engineer Jeromy Moore) and I made a decision to work the car for the softs and the later part of the race. I was struggling in the first stint (on hard tyres).
“Jamie was a bit nice to me with the pass late and we went on from there.
“I knew if we could start in the top 10 we would be in with a show of a win. We down down the road of a two-stop strategy and it worked.”
After qualifying fourth, defending V8 Supercar Champion Jamie Whincup adopted a similar strategy to Lowndes, remaining on track throughout the first safety car period.
With the #1 Commodore holding good speed, Whincup opted to stay on his used soft tyres throughout his second pitstop. Whincup held the race lead until Lap 59 when he was passed by Lowndes.
Today's second place result sees Whincup extend his lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series while Craig Lowndes has edged closer to the frontrunners sitting fourth on 1247points.
The Brisbane-based team will head home to prepare the Sucrogen Townsville 400 on July 6 – 8.
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Race 13 Results
1: Craig Lowndes
2: Jamie Whincup
3: Mark Winterbottom
4: Michael Caruso
5: Fabian Coulthard
6: Will Davison
7: Shane Van Gisbergen
8: David Reynolds
9: Garth Tander
10: Tim Slade
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Points Standings
1: Jamie Whincup, 1494 pts.
2: Will Davison, 1456 pts.
3: Mark Winterbottom, 1445 pts.
4: Craig Lowndes, 1247 pts.
5: Shane Van Gisbergen, 1145 pts.
6: Lee Holdsworth, 1079 pts.
7: Tim Slade, 1059 pts.
8: Garth Tander, 990 pts.
9: Fabian Coulthard, 910 pts.
10: Jason Bright, 804 pts.