Relentless Lowndes hunting V8 leader

Just when it looked like it was all over, Ford star Mark Winterbottom will be getting a worrying sense of deja vu about the 2015 V8 Supercars title race.

Winterbottom came into the Gold Coast 600 sitting pretty with a dominant 399 point lead.

Even rival Craig Lowndes admitted going into the weekend that toppling the Prodrive Racing Australia driver would be a long shot.

Fast forward two days and the tone has changed.

Winterbottom could only finish 11th in Sunday’s 300km race, a day after a pitstop nightmare had resulted in a shocking 23rd place finish in Saturday’s event.

Compounding those performances Lowndes finished third and fourth in both races and has slashed the margin to 258 points heading into the final three events of the season.

Lowndes, whose Bathurst win earlier this month has given him a ton of momentum, is already starting to ramp up the pressure on his rival.

“All in all we closed that points gap back down to Frosty,” Lowndes said.

“That was the main objective this weekend.

“We move on to New Zealand now and I’m really looking forward to it.”

For 12 years Winterbottom has coveted the V8s crown – so often missing out in last few rounds as rivals reel him in.

It’s a trend that the 34-year-old will hope doesn’t continue again in the next stop of the championship, the Auckland 500, in New Zealand from November 6.

“I can’t really sugarcoat it, it was a bad weekend,” Winterbottom said.

“We need to bounce back. The other team’s got momentum and we’ve faltered.

“Ifs, buts, maybes. We go home. We work hard. We need to get on top of it for the championship.”

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