Lowndes claims Bathurst 1000

Lowndes claims Bathurst 1000

Holden veteran Craig Lowndes has won his sixth Bathurst 1000 title at Mount Panorama on Sunday.

Lowndes – with co-driver Steven Richards – completed the epic 161-lap enduro more than a second ahead of Ford’s Mark Winterbottom and Steve Owen.

Holden’s Garth Tander and Warren Luff were third.

It marked a record 13th Bathurst podium for the 41-year-old Lowndes, leapfrogging fellow greats Peter Brock, Larry Perkins and Jim Richards.

Lowndes last conquered the mountain in 2010.

He joins Perkins and Mark Skaife on six Bathurst wins.

Only Peter Brock (nine) and Jim Richards (seven) have savoured more.

It was Steven Richards’ fourth Bathurst triumph.

However, defending V8 series champion Jamie Whincup again left Mount Panorama a frustrated man.

A second-placed Whincup was sensationally dropped to the back of the field with 20 laps left after being penalised for overtaking a safety car.

His Red Bull team boss Roland Dane accused Whincup of defying team orders and remaining on the track instead of pitting during the fateful fourth safety car period after Ford’s Scott Pye crashed on top of the mountain.

Twelve months ago Dane blamed Whincup for ignoring team pleas to conserve fuel before the V8 star ran out of petrol on the final lap while leading.

Whincup finished 18th.

He led by more than 30 seconds but dramatically lost it during a lengthy pit stop on lap 106 to address a throttle drama.

Lowndes emerged with the lead in the pit-lane frenzy that followed the fourth and final safety car, setting up a final 20 lap sprint finish.

V8 series leader Winterbottom launched a gutsy fightback after receiving two black flag penalties following electrical problems that disrupted his brake lights.

It was a shot in the arm for Winterbottom’s Prodrive Racing team, winner of the last two Great Races.

They were already without their defending champion Chaz Mostert after his horror qualifying crash on Friday.

Mostert broke his wrist and leg in a crash that also injured three track-side officials.

The Ford team then lost their Super Black Racing duo of Andre Heimgartner and Ant Pedersen after they hit the Mountain Straight wall on lap 36.

Unbelievably they were almost another team down after the all-female duo in their garage hit the Forrest’s Elbow wall on lap 15.

Somehow the team got the first all female team at Bathurst since 1998 – Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro – back out by the lap 55 deadline and they completed the race, albeit in last place.

Old school V8 great Dick Johnson had claimed they were a “million to one” to finish their first Bathurst.

Five cars in the 26-strong field failed to finish.

V8 Supercars said 201,416 packed Mount Panorama over four days – the second highest attendance.

Next round will be the Gold Coast 600 enduro, starting on October 23.

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