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CRAIG CRASHED OUT OF CHAMPIONSHIP SIXTH

Craig Lowndes’ 2017 Virgin Australia Supercar Championship challenge came to a frustrating end on the streets of Newcastle at the weekend.

Aiming to consolidate sixth in the title chase, Craig was contesting the second leg of the inaugural Newcastle 500 event, when he was driven into the wall in controversial circumstances with just a lap to go.

The move broke the TeamVortex Commodore’s suspension and tore out a brake line, Craig lucky not to be injured when the brakeless car careered into a tyre-protected concrete wall and was heavily damaged.

"What a day. It's been a hell of a year, we were hoping for a really strong finish today to give the team a bit of a thank you for all their efforts this year,” Craig Lowndes said.

“Our main aim was to secure sixth in the Championship and I think we were there. I have no doubt if we finished the race where we were, we would have been sixth, which would have been great.

“But we will move on now, have a Christmas break and look forward to 2018."

 

FRIDAY

  • Final round of 2017 Virgin Australia Supercar Championship
  • Craig 15th fastest in Practice 1
  • Craig 17th fastest in Practice 2

"I think we were all excited to hit the streets of Newcastle (today) to see what we could do. The track has proven to be what we thought it would be, very challenging.

“There's more speed in me than in the car at the moment but we've been working away with it, the car itself is nice to drive. We've found the traffic is going to be a little bit of an issue over the course of the weekend.”

 

SATURDAY

  • Craig qualifies 20th for Race 25
  • Clever strategy & great driving, Craig climbs to sixth
  • Craig hits wall, flattens a tyre, forced to pits for repairs
  • #888 too heavily damaged to be repaired by race end

“It was a disappointing finish to the day, of course.

“We had some issues through qualifying and we didn't get the best out of the car. In the race we had a good car, and we had a great strategy. Our aim was to stay in clear air and maximise the speed if we could, which we were able to, and we had fantastic tyre life which will serve us well for tomorrow.

“We were looking for a top five finish today but we just made a little mistake in that last corner. The outside of the track is very dirty (there) and I just slid down (the camber of the road) and hit the concrete wall, which then damaged the left rear corner of the car.

“The team did a fantastic job trying to fix it within the time but unfortunately they couldn't, so we had a DNF (Did Not Finish) which is our first for the year. I'm really disappointed, we had a very strong car today. "

 

SUNDAY

  • Last race of the 2017 season
  • Craig qualifies 22nd for Race 26
  • Controversially crashed out of the race with 1 lap to go
  • Finishes 10th in 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

"We had another disappointing qualifying session, we didn't maximise the car speed, it definitely had more, going into the race we knew that. We had a great consistent car throughout the race, we had good strategy.

“We played a bit of a curve ball at the end with that last safety car, we came in for another set of tyres. We had really good pace and were making our way back through the field, which is obviously good around a track like this, which is very hard to pass on.

“The incident with Scotty (Scott McLaughlin) was disappointing. To finish the year off with a bang like that is frustrating for me and my guys, (though) obviously great for Jamie and Red Bull Holden for winning a Championship."


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