Lowndes admits V8 title a long shot

V8 Supercars veteran Craig Lowndes admits overhauling championship leader Mark Winterbottom will be a big ask.

The Holden star heads into this weekend’s Gold Coast 600 trailing Winterbottom by 399 points with just four events to go.

Lowndes brought his Bathurst form to the streets of Surfers Paradise on Friday, finishing third on the practice timesheets.

Nissan’s James Moffat was the fastest driver on the day with a one minute and 10.7995 seconds lap while Holden’s Shane Van Gisbergen (1:10.8727) came in second fastest.

Lowndes clocked a 1:11.0603 to finish third but knows he must battle hard to rein in Winterbottom and keep his title hopes alive.

“We’ll keep putting pressure on but we’ve obviously got to make up 100 points or more per round,” he said.

“That’s a damn hard thing to do at the moment the way that the competition’s really tight.

“It’s going to be tough but the only thing we can do now is keep putting pressure on and seeing what happens. If we can’t win a championship we have to try and keep secure in second which is also tough.”

Moffat’s display came just a day after he announced he would be leaving Nissan at the end of the year after three seasons with the team.

“I should make announcements like that every weekend,” he said.

“Obviously a good day for the team and the car’s felt pretty speedy on both tyres.”

It was a tougher day for Winterbottom, who was the fastest on the slower hard compound tyre in the opening practice run, but could only post the ninth quickest time of the day.

Defending champion Jamie Whincup, coming off the back of a Bathurst nightmare, failed to complete the opening practice session and came a lowly 24th in the day’s final run.

“I clipped the wall this morning which bent the car, it seems since then we have been behind the eight-ball for most of the day,” Whincup said.

“I was out late for my session and we didn’t manage to get a run on our good tyres in the end. It just kept snowballing really.”

The action resumes on Saturday with qualifying in the morning ahead of a 250km race in the afternoon.

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