Lowndes keen for Perth pit entry rethink

  • 08/05/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Craig Lowndes is hoping for a change to the Barbagallo pit entry next year following his tangle with Alex Rullo in Race 8.

The TeamVortex Holden was turned around by the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport driver as Lowndes slowed to make the pit entry, which is located to the right just after the final corner.

A similarly awkward scenario between James Moffat and Rick Kelly unfolded later in the race as the GRM Holden slowed to swing into the pits in front of the Nissan.

Lowndes joined team-mate Shane van Gisbergen and Driving Standards Advisor Craig Baird and Racing Director Michael Masi on a track inspection after the Sunday race, taking a close look at the pit entry.

Two entry roads were made when the pit complex on the inside of the circuit was built in 2012, including an alternate route that peels off on the back straight.

“It (pit entry contact) happens here because of how much you have to slow it up for the pit entry,” Lowndes told Supercars.com.

“We (the drivers) always wanted to use the other pit entry but the officials didn’t want us to.

“It was one of the things we discussed with Michael and Craig so hopefully they’ll look at it to see if it’s an option for next year.

“It wasn’t just me, there was another incident there as well. Once you commit into pit entry it becomes very, very tight.”

The alternate entry was originally designed for motorcycles and would require sign-off from the FIA in order to be adopted by Supercars.

Lowndes dismissed suggestions that the 240km/h approach and narrow nature of the earlier entry would cause its own problems.

“Everything has an issue but you’d at least leave the circuit safely,” continued Lowndes.

“What happens at that pit entry is no different to Phillip Island with the way that’s shaped.

“We’re flat going into pitlane off the race track there and we don’t have a problem.

“There’s obviously things we can look at to fix for next year.”

Lowndes finished eighth in Race 8 despite the incident, which cost around 10 seconds, and being forced to start rear-of-grid due to an electrical issue.

A three-stop strategy helped recover the ground, ensuring Lowndes leaves Perth eighth in the championship standings.

“The car was much better than it was on Saturday,” he said.

“We learnt a lot being in traffic and having too much understeer which kills the tyre quickly.

“We changed the (anti-roll) bars to suit and it made the car stronger.

“Even in hindsight we couldn’t have pushed harder than we did because it would have used the tyre.

“To finish in the top 10 after starting dead last, I’m quite happy.”

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