V8 Supercars – Lowndes Zeroes In On V8 Supercar Championship

August 21, 2011

V8 Supercars

Not happy. A frustrated Jamie Whincup and angry boss Roland Dane were furious over a mistake that cut his lead dramatically to TeamVodafone team-mate Craig Lowndes at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 at Queensland Raceway today.

It’s very seldom and often not at all that the slickest team in the V8 Supercar Championship makes the most basic of errors but it happened with a damaging but not unrecoverable outcome. The drama unraveled in front of a big crowd despite early morning rain. The three day total was 50,425, 12,499 more people piling into Queensland Raceway than last year.

Whincup sits just 98 points clear of Lowndes in the Championship coming into his team-mates favourite two events – the L&H 500 at Phillip Island and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

A team member forgot to take a trumpet covers off the engine which meant Whincup couldn’t even complete the pre-race warm-up. The trumpet cover goes over the air intakes in the engine while the cover is off to stop foreign particles getting into the engine while it is being worked on.

They are taken off once the engine cover is installed, but in this case one was left on effectively muting the engine by preventing air intake.

“We made one of the oldest mistakes in motor racing,” Team boss Roland Dane said. “We are not the first people to do it but it was a silly mistake. We need a better system around that.”

To make matters worse Whincup, having fought tooth and nail to catch up, finished 10th in the race but a last lap altercation with Rick Kelly had him limp across the line.

“Jamie drove a fantastic race up until the last few laps with that incident with Rick Kelly which even Jamie would admit was not good,” Dane said.

“There were three drivers who were head and shoulders above everybody else this weekend and they were Craig, Jamie and Tim (Slade). It’s a shame Jamie wasn’t around for the scrap through no fault of his own.”

Lowndes is traditionally a slow starter in the first half of the year but that has turned around ahead of his pet events.

“All the combinations are coming together,” he said. “I love long distance racing, always have. We’ve had a sensational weekend and the car has been great from the outset. For me right now it’s a big box of ticks.”

While the Championship drama surrounded Whincup the day also unveiled some of the potential rising champions in Slade, Stratco Racing’s David Reynolds and Jim Beam Racing’s James Moffatt, son of touring car great Allan Moffatt.

“Ross (Stone) talked about the complete weekend for me and that’s what it was – we haven’t ventured outside the top three all weekend,” said Slade.

“Three podiums and Shane’s up here as well, so a big thanks to the guys.”

The young trio turned in their best performances in the Championship cutting it with the best, adding to Slade’s remarkable weekend when many of the big names struggled.

Reynolds was fifth, ahead of Garth Tander (19th to 6th), Fabian Coulthard, Alex Davison, Steve Johnson and Whincup.

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Top Ten Race V8 Supercar Championship Series Race 18 Results: Coates Hire Ipswich 300

1: Craig Lowndes
2: Tim Slade
3: Shane Van Gisbergen
4: James Moffat
5: David Reynolds
6: Garth Tander
7: Fabian Coulthard
8: Alex Davison
9: Steven Johnson
10: Jamie Whincup

V8 Supercar Championship Series Standings:

1: Jamie Whincup, 1895 pts.
2: Craig Lowndes, 1797 pts.
3: Shane Van Gisbergen, 1502 pts.
4: Rick Kelly, 1418 pts.
5: Steven Johnson, 1345 pts.
6: Garth Tander, 1321 pts.
7: Mark Winterbottom, 1321 pts.
8: Will Davison, 1302 pts.
9: Alex Davison, 1255 pts.
10: Lee Holdsworth, 1140 pts.

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