Craig Lowndes was pleased with his recovery to 11th after being turned around in an early race incident that is still being investigated by Driving Standards Observer Jason Bargwanna at Hidden Valley.
Freightliner racer Tim Slade and Rick Kelly were involved, with Kelly’s Nissan tapping the rear of the TeamVortex Holden and turning him around at turn five.
Lowndes wasn’t completely sure what had happened in the incident, but said Kelly had already been down to say sorry.
“We had a good start and were staying out of trouble … then we were going into turn five, the right hander,” Lowndes told supercars.com.
“We were just trying to go around the outside of Frosty –we were having a good battle side by side through one, two, three, four and then as we were just turning into five I got a hit from the back.
“Rick has just come up and apologised but I’m not sure whether it was Rick and he wasn’t sure – there’s obviously an investigation.”
Kelly was disappointed to have tangled early in the race and was also happy to have made ground across the 42 laps, finishing 15th.
“We locked the rears and concertina into each other, Slade me and Lowndes, which was disappointing,” Kelly told supercars.com.
“I overshot turn one on the exit of the pits as well – we had a tough day, but had really good pace in the car and were strong enough to drive up to 15th after all of that.”
Winton double winner Slade told supercars.com he would prefer not to comment until the investigation had been completed.
Lowndes was happy he would have a strong car tomorrow and while he had the speed to catch the cars at the back of the top 10, he was unable to pass in the closing laps.
“We had better pace than where we were – we had pace to be able to catch Scotty [McLaughlin], Frosty and Lee Holdsworth but we didn’t have the pace to pass them.
“So we closed the gap, put pressure on if they made a mistake, but otherwise – it was a good recovery, as we got back to where we thought we would’ve been, considering what happened.”
If a penalty is to be applied, it would most likely be a deduction of championship points.
Lowndes sits fourth in the Championship, while Slade and Kelly are eighth and ninth, separated by 24 points.
Michael Caruso had an emotional win in today’s race at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown.