V8 Supercars – Whincup Closes In On Titles, Lowndes Vows To Continue The Fight

November 14, 2011

V8 Supercars

Craig Lowndes has claimed another V8  Supercar Championship is still within reach despite a qualifying hiccup that  dealt a blow to his hopes against TeamVodafone team-mate Jamie Whincup  today.

 

For the second day in a row Whincup  oozed control with another win at the Falken Tasmania Challenge, extending his  Championship lead ever so slightly to 194 points. Ford Performance Racing pair  Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom were second and third.

 

Having qualified mid-pack in 15th  Lowndes had a huge fight on his hands on the super-short Symmons Plains track  but battled his way back to fifth. It was a brave fight.

 

“We had to get back into the top six  to stay in touch with Jamie. We managed fifth which was good. We just missed  that one element which was qualifying,” Lowndes said.

 

“Every race that goes by it is  getting harder and harder (to catch Whincup). We want to close the gap not  extend it. It was hard work for us. We will still keep fighting, it’s not over  yet.”

 

Whincup, too, is watching his  back.

 

“No way (is it over) – what have we  got, 600 points to go and the gap is less than 200,” said Whincup. “We need to  keep our head down for as long as we can. We are going to be one or two but two  would be fairly devastating.”

 

Lowndes’ poor qualifying set the  early tone today. With Whincup on the front row and Lowndes back in  15th qualifying was a big moment in the great Championship  picture.

 

“We had two sets of green tyres, the  first run we got caught up in traffic and in the second run we had some clean  air but I didn’t put the lap together. I didn’t do the job right and we suffered  the consequences,” Lowndes explained.

 

As a result Lowndes’ team had to try  everything to claw their way back in the race.

 

Would Lowndes need to gamble? He  did. Lowndes came in after just 18 laps for his first stop to try to take him on  strategy. As if they were enemies Whincup’s team responded almost instantly,  pulling in soon after.

 

What difference did it make? With a  few laps by himself Lowndes moved up into effectively sixth place and back in  it. A mistake by Dumbrell after his first stop then handed Whincup a comfortable  lead.

 

Dumbrell made an error on cold tyres  coming out of the pits and effectively hampered Winterbottom and Davison,  leaving Whincup to pull a gap. There were some hairy moments for Whincup  throughout the race.

 

At one stage as he was battling  traffic he almost lost control at the final turn in what could have been a nasty  outcome. All the time Lowndes was plugging away safely in the top ten but still  not close enough to catch his team-mate.

 

“There was a lot of dirt on the  track and I was on the radio complaining about blue flags – pretty much  everything about everything but me keeping my thing on the track,” Whincup  said.

 

The Championship moves to the Norton  360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne in just four days  time.

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