Lowndes’ Bathurst hopes all but dashed

Trouble has struck sentimental favourite Craig Lowndes in the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama on Sunday.

Gear issues have relegated the six-time winner’s Holden team to last in the 27-strong field and seven laps behind the leader.

Pole sitter Jamie Whincup’s Holden team remains the one to beat early in the Great Race, holding a 10 second lead after 51 of the 161 laps.

However, Lowndes’ hopes have all but been dashed.

All eyes were on Lowndes at the Great Race which will honour the 10th anniversary of his mentor Peter Brock’s death.

Lowndes received the inaugural winners’ Peter Brock Trophy in 2006, one month after the motorsport’s shock death.

But history does not look like repeating on Sunday after Lowndes’ co-driver Steven Richards complained that their Holden was stuck in sixth gear on the 35th lap after pitting.

He came into the garage again as the team worked on the Holden in a frenzy with even Lowndes weighing in to fix the problem.

There were initial fears that their race was over but they were able to limp back onto the track, albeit at the back of the field.

“Overall it’s disappointing. Now we just want to finish the race so we can get some points for the championship,” Lowndes said.

Lowndes started on the grid at 21st after his worst ever Bathurst qualifying effort.

He contested his first Bathurst in 1994.

However, Lowndes worked his way up the field to 11th before handing over the reins to Richards.

In contrast, Whincup is staying in sight of Bathurst title No.5 after setting a blistering pace.

The six-time series champion set a race lap record early – two minutes, 07.09 seconds.

Holden hope Lee Holdsworth lasted two laps before retiring with engine dramas.

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