"All about the team"

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/11/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Red Bull Racing Australia's Craig Lowndes has credited yesterday's second place to his team after the extensive rebuild of his Holden Commodore overnight.

When leading Saturday's second race, Lowndes suffered from a tyre explosion approaching turn one and ultimately ended up in the wall.

Damage was so significant the team needed to take the chassis off-site to a local panelbeater and working through the night until 6am, the job was done and the car was on the pace.

Lowndes started 10th but improved during the race to come home behind teammate Jamie Whincup, rewarding his crew by featuring in a Red Bull one-two finish and gaining valuable championship points over leader Mark Winterbottom.

"Second was all about the team," Lowndes said.

"They had an hour and a half turnaround from finishing my car, having a shower and returning to the track. Cookie [Matty Cook, mechanic], my number one, fell asleep in the shower and I got him out and back."

With no damage to the internals of the car, team boss Mark Dutton was confident the team would have #888 back fighting for Championship points on Sunday and it was all hands on deck.

"It is a huge effort from the team. You have to be worried when things like that happen because again it doesn't affect one car, it affects both cars.

"For the boys to be able to back it up, with the pit stops and the strategies, was a credit for them.

"It shows the depth in the team and the passion.

"To see the boys they were buggered before the start of the race so they are a bit happier now."

While he was unsure at first how the car would go - and thankful of the Sunday morning practice session to give it a shakedown - Lowndes was pleasantly surprised by its pace.

"In race trim it was really good," he said.

"It was a treat. These results make it nicer to come back next year."

Lowndes has competed in every V8 Supercars event at Pukekohe but amazingly has never won at the New Zealand circuit. He looked on track to crack that stat on Saturday before the tyre failure, which second place David Reynolds described as looking like a 'missile'.

Ultimately, the failure led to a rule change for Sunday, with teams forced to start on the Dunlop soft tyre and unable to reuse it after that first stint.

The softer compound had not been used at the circuit before the day's earlier qualifying session, but given the nature of the explosion there isn't much evident of why the tyre let go so suddenly.

"It is still a bit of an unknown about the tyre and why it did it - everyone else managed the tyres and got through it," Lowndes said.
"I did not think I drove the tyre any harder than the others."

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