Lowndes: No added pressure in contract year

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 13/04/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Craig Lowndes says he’s feeling no added pressure to perform this season despite uncertainty over his future.

The 42-year-old endured a slow start to the year at Adelaide and Albert Park, recording an average qualifying position of 16.7 across the two meetings.

He then enjoyed a return to form at Symmons Plains, utilising two top 10 starting spots to record a third in the shorted Saturday race and a fourth on Sunday.

The veteran appeared particularly fired up in Race 4, engaging in a spirited dice with young gun Cameron Waters that remains the subject of an investigation.

While pleased with the upswing in performance, Lowndes swatted away any suggestions that being out-of-contract has added pressure to show he still has what it takes.

“I don’t look at it that way. It will be what it is,” Lowndes told Supercars.com.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing and striving for better performance.

“Roland (Dane, Triple Eight principal) will have his own opinion on that side of it and we haven’t come to a point where he’s come back to us with what next year looks like.

“Until then we’ll just focus on getting the results and working as a team.

“I’ve never thought of it that way,” he continued over whether the uncertainty adds pressure.

“Even in my days at HRT or Prodrive, regardless I’d always press hard to get results, even if I don’t end up being here.

“For me it’s all about working with the group of guys that we’ve got, getting results and taking it from there.”

Still gelling with rookie race engineer John McGregor following Ludo Lacroix’s high profile departure last November, Lowndes said a slow start to the year didn’t bring any self-doubt about his ongoing ability to mix it with his younger rivals.

“I didn’t have any doubts. If you do then you may as well retire,” he said.

“It was just a matter of time. In this sport things move and evolve really quickly.

“To get this Vortex side of the garage working is the most important thing and now with the database that Irish (McGregor) has got from Clipsal and the grand prix is really valuable.

“He’s improving immensely week to week and we’ll take a lot of confidence out of Symmons Plains.

“I think the Sunday race was a true indication that we have speed and can run at the front.

“We’ve just got to be able to do that everywhere we go.”

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