Lowndes scythes through V8s field

Craig Lowndes has produced a V8 Supercars drive for the ages, surging through the field in Perth to lead a Triple Eight one-two-three finish.

A masterclass from team engineer Ludo Lacroix on Saturday allowed Lowndes to overtake 20 drivers in fewer than 20 laps.

Lowndes was the only man to opt for a second pit-stop for strategic reasons at Barbagallo Raceway and reaped the benefits of fresh tyres.

He claimed his final victims – teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup – with just three laps to go, careering away to win despite a late downpour.

Lowndes was fourth when he headed for pit lane on Lacroix’s orders and was initially unsure about the Frenchman’s move.

“I thought it was a bit strange. I didn’t question him,” he said.

“He asked me to push and the car responded.

“It was a great strategy from the boys and it could have gone either way.”

After completing the drive, he ran from his car to congratulate the garage team that masterminded his victory.

Van Gisbergen, who finished second, took the lead from pole-sitter Cam Waters on lap two and looked in control after seeing off a steely challenge from Chaz Mostert.

Mostert snatched the race lead down the main straight only for the Kiwi to take it back on the next turn.

The Ford man then shunted van Gisbergen down the hill at turn seven in an accident that could have ruined both their races.

Van Gisbergen laughed off a sore neck after the race, happy to claim a podium in Perth for the first time.

“I got the option to pit if I wanted to but at that stage thought the grip was going to be OK. Craig was so much faster at the end,” he said.

Both Waters and Mostert fell by the wayside, finishing 12th and 13th.

Reigning champion Mark Winterbottom lost ground in the standings, being turned around by Dale Wood after falling into the sand trap to finish 22nd.

Scott McLaughlin was another big loser out of the day’s racing, falling foul of the weather in qualifying to start 15th and finish 11th.

Michael Caruso also endured a dirty day.

The Nissan man beached himself in qualifying and finished last and seven laps behind after struggling with steering issues.

Lowndes becomes the seventh different winner in eight races in a hyper-competitive series to date.

He replaces McLaughlin in second place in the championship standings, 15 points behind leader Whincup.

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