The Equation

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/11/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

key facts

  • Gap between the top two is 179 points, with 300 on offer in Sydney
  • Lowndes needs strong results to stay in the hunt past Saturday  
  • Both he and Winterbottom have mixed records at the Sydney Olympic Park circuit. 

Craig Lowndes hits a milestone 250th round start this weekend and is looking to pinch the Championship from under Mark Winterbottom’s nose.

But, as he said at Phillip Island, it really is Winterbottom’s title to lose, with the numbers swinging in the Ford driver's direction.

Here are the figures from here, with 300 points and three races remaining for 2015.

What Frosty has to do 

With a 179-point lead and only 300 on offer over the Coates Hire Sydney 500, chances are the Ford fans will be celebrating come Sunday night. Or even Saturday.

To win the title, all Winterbottom needs is to finish 14th or better across the three races.

If Lowndes comes home second in the races, Winterbottom only needs to finish 16th or better.

What Lowndes has to do 

If Frosty fails to score any points Lowndes needs 180 to get ahead.

So if Winterbottom does not score any points, Lowndes would still need to finish seventh or better across all three races.

Get past Saturday 

Lowndes needs to earn at least 30 points more than Winterbottom across the two 125km races to lower the margin to 149 points, with 150 to be won on the Sunday.

So even if Lowndes wins both races on Saturday, he would need Winterbottom to finish below fourth to stay in the mix for Sunday.

Records in Sydney 

Both drivers have mixed records in Sydney.

Lowndes has had two wins, in 2012 and on the Saturday in 2011, while Winterbottom won on the Sunday of ’11.

Winterbottom has three DNFs – both races in 2010, and one in ’13 – while Lowndes has two, in 2009 and 2010.

Last year, the event was no good for either. Both were fighting for second position in the Championship, but were trumped by Shane van Gisbergen.

Lowndes had a heavy crash in qualifying on Saturday and carried a rib injury through the weekend. He finished 13th, 20th and 17th across the races after his Red Bull crew impressively repaired his Commodore between sessions. 

On the other hand, Winterbottom finished 23rd, fifth and 19th after finding the barrier at turn one in the first and third races.

Based on last year’s results, Lowndes would earn 109 points to Winterbottom’s 121 – not enough to bridge this year’s gap.

Runners-up 

While both are esteemed names in V8 Supercars, neither are strangers to coming up short in the Championship fight.

Since joining Triple Eight in 2005, Lowndes has finished runner-up five times.

Winterbottom has only finished second once – in 2008 – with five third place finishes to his name. 

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