Passing favours

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/03/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Craig Lowndes has suggested his teammate was lenient on the final lap at Albert Park, as he and Jamie Whincup battled for second place at the Australian Grand Prix yesterday.

The TeamVortex veteran charged from seventh on the grid to pressure Whincup for second on the way to Triple Eight Race Engineering’s first ever 1-2-3 finish in V8 Supercars.

He nabbed the spot at turn 13 to split the two Red Bull cars, with van Gisbergen three seconds up the road, on the final lap.

“We had a great battle with Jamie, we were having a bit of fun knowing that we probably had a bit better car in the late stages of the race. I think he was a bit kind to me in the end!” Lowndes said. 

“We obviously all wanted to finish on the podium, but it's a great way to start the year for us.

“It's a good indication of where we've come from, from Adelaide.”

Whincup insisted he gave his all in the heat of battle and was pleased to see his team rise to the top.

“I raced as hard as I could, but the car wasn't quite there and I wasn't really in the groove either. It's just as much my fault as the car's fault,” he said.

“A huge moment for the team!”

Team boss Roland Dane expanded to run three cars this year to accommodate three-time champ Lowndes, six-time champ Whincup and talented race winner van Gisbergen for 2016.

Triple Eight has locked out the podium in just its second outing as a three-car outfit. 

Lowndes trailed behind his younger teammates in qualifying and race one, but explained that his crew improved the car after the early run for this evening’s exciting race.

“The car was really good – we learned from race one today, but also knowing that it [the weather] was going to cool off, we were a little bit more aggressive with the setup,” Lowndes said.  

“It seemed to work and seemed to hang in there. I was a little bit worried at the beginning because the car was very good at the start of the race and I wasn't sure how the consistency of the tyre would be, but it hung in there.”

Conditions were typically patchy in Melbourne with rain starting to fall a few laps into the second race.

“It was difficult going into race two because no one knew exactly what to expect in the sense of conditions, but luckily it was dry for 99 per cent of the time. It did have a little bit of a sprinkle mid-race, but not enough to be a drama,” Lowndes said.

After two races van Gisbergen leads the tally of points for the non-championship event, ahead of Whincup and DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard. 

Lowndes sits fifth in the tally with two races remaining at the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix, one to run this afternoon at 3.20pm local time. 

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