Lowndes looks for Townsville results

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Darwin's valuable Sunday race didn't go to plan for Craig Lowndes, but his focus quickly turned to this weekend's racing at the Castrol Townsville 500 - Driven by TAFE Queensland.

The Red Bull racer sees the event, which comesless than a fortnightafter the Darwin round, as another opportunity to claw back points to Championship leader Mark Winterbottom and put a clash with the Pepsi Maxdriver's teammate Chaz Mostert behind him.

The points gap between second placed Holden driver Lowndes and Ford foe Winterbottom is 161 points, with 300 on offer across all three races this weekend.

The margin widened at the SKYCITY Triple Crown, with Winterbottom sailing home first and Lowndes managing just 17th after blowing a tyre and having to take an unscheduled pit stop.

The drama was triggered by contact with Mostert, prompting team boss Roland Dane to criticise the young driver, calling him an idiot and implying his Red Bull charge may look for payback out on-track.

But Lowndes brushed off that idea with his trademark smile.

"Nah, look - if I was going to focus on trying to get Chaz back, I'm going to lose focus on what I need to do, which is try to win races," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"It was one of those things that the contact that blew the tyre was my mistake, there's no doubt about that. What happened a couple of corners before, that's a different matter. But I'll just get on with it, get over it and that's racing. Best thing we can do now is win races and try and close that Championship points gap."

While the clash with Mostert fuelled the FPR-Red Bull fire, Lowndes acknowledged he couldn't put all of his focus on the factory rivals down the road as the threats to his first V8 Supercars Championship title since 1999.

"The other thing I have to be mindful of is Jamie closing the gap back down now, for second," he said, with teammate Jamie Whincup - who boasts an impressive five wins from 10 races at Townsville - just 25 points behind him.

"There's a lot going on and it's a really critical point to turn things around and get some good points, some momentum, back again and see what we can do."

Lowndes likes that there has barely been a break between the Townsville and Darwin rounds, feeling focused ahead of this weekend's 500km of racing.

"It is great to have almost a back to back weekend. I think as drivers, we definitely prepare and operate better when you're more frequently in the car than having big breaks, so for me it's a great opportunity to bounce back if we can.

"Definitely the Sunday (in Darwin) didn't go to plan at all.

"We set ourselves up well prior to the Sunday's race obviously having a brand new set of tyres and all that - the lead up was great, the execution was bad... It was a disappointing ending to what could've been, potentially, all those ifs and buts.

"We've got a great opportunity this weekend, we know that the hard tyre is solely this weekend, not a combination, which I think will suit us better."

Lowndes has only been on the podium twice in 10 races at the Reid Park hybrid circuit in Townsville, and feels it would be even greater to bounce back somewhere he hasn't tasted victory before. It is only one of two tracks on the V8 Supercars calendar he hasn't won a race, along with Pukekohe in New Zealand.

"It's a track that, yes we haven't had a victory here, but we've had some great results," he said.

"I really like the track, I think it's a track that for me, it's quite amazing to see the elements of the circuit - the tight corners, the long flowing corners, everything that goes on ... For us as drivers it's a hugely challenging track.

"There's no doubt that it would be nice to have a win. Especially a track we haven't had a victory before, but by the same token we go to every race weekend with the same vein in the sense of just wanting to win.

"I personally would love to bounce back, close the points gap down if we can because that's obviously the ultimate goal, and then it goes into the second half of the season which is generally our strong point. So that's what I'm really looking forward to."

Practice kicks off the Castrol Townsville 500 - Driven by TAFE Queensland at 10.10am, with two further sessions at 11.40am and 12.50pm.

Another practice run starts Saturday at 10.30am, with back-to-back qualifying sessions and two races to follow.

Sunday will host a 20-minute qualifying session, ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout and 250km race at 3.55pm AEST.

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